Rob Gronkowski injury: Patriots star doesn't make trip to Buffalo

Jim Rogash

Gronk has returned to practice, but isn't ready to return to the field.

The New England Patriots will face the Buffalo Bills without Rob Gronkowski, reports Albert Breer. The tight end, who had been listed as doubtful on the official injury report, did not make the trip to Buffalo with the team. Gronkowski has been participating in practice, but has been limited.

Gronkowski enters the season recovering from multiple surgeries. One was on his forearm, the fourth such surgery related to a fracture that originally occurred in November 2012. The other was on his back, an area that has been an issue for Gronkowski since college. He underwent surgery to repair discs while at Arizona, causing him to miss the entire 2009 season.

With Gronkowski out, Tom Brady will need new places to look when the Pats are in the red zone. Rookie Zach Sudfeld, an undrafted free agent, will likely start. The 6'7", 255-pound tight end has size similar to Gronkowski, but whether he can match his hands or his ability to find openings is yet to be seen.

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