Rob Gronkowski injury: Patriots star is '50/50' to play vs. Buccaneers

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The two-time Pro Bowl tight end is close to being ready to return to the Patriots lineup.

There's a chance that the New England Patriots could see the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski sooner rather than later, as ESPN's Ed Werder reports that there is a "50-50 chance" the two-time Pro Bowler plays against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3.

Gronkowski, 24, has been sidelined by back and forearm injuries that both required surgery in the offseason. He was listed as doubtful for the team's Week 2 game against the New York Jets, but was listed as inactive on gameday.

The return of Gronkowski would be a welcomed one for Tom Brady, who didn't target a single tight end in the team's 13-10 victory against the Jets. Brady's 52.7 percent completion rate and 74.1 passer rating are both career lows, as he has had to adjust to the loss of many familiar weapons, Gronkowski included.

In three seasons with the Patriots, Gronkowski has accumulated 187 receptions for 2,663 yards and 38 touchdowns. His 17 touchdown receptions in 2011 set an NFL single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end.

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