Rob Gronkowski was limited in practice on Monday and it's "unlikely" the Patriots tight end will play Thursday against the New York Jets, according to a report from Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.
Gronkowski is continuing his recovery from offseason back surgery. The rehab has gone well enough to allow him to avoid the physically unable to perform list to start the season, but playing on a short week doesn't help his chances of playing in Week 2. Guregian's source said Gronkowski is unlikely to play, but she reports Gronkowski has yet to be ruled out.
Tight ends played a major role in New England's offense last season, but without Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, that was not the case in Week 1 as New England tight ends were targeted just three times against the Bills. Gronkowski and Hernandez combined for more than 10 targets per game last season.
Although the Patriots may be without Gronkowski in Week 2, he is getting closer to returning to the field and could possibly make his debut in Week 3 against Tampa Bay, according to Guregian.