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Rob Gronkowski’s groin injury is probably not serious, but the Patriots will test it anyway

Gronk did not return.

Rob Gronkowski left the field in the third quarter of Sunday’s game with the Saints after suffering a groin injury. The All-Pro tight end landed awkwardly after being tackled at the end of a 21-yard reception and walked gingerly off the field. He was later taken to the sideline injury tent for evaluation.

He did not return to the game, but afterward he said he was fine:

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted that Gronkowski's injury doesn't seem to be serious, but he will receive tests on Monday to make sure.

What this means for Gronkowski: Gronkowski has dealt with injury problems his entire career, including back issues that eliminated complete seasons both in college and as a pro. Any time the dynamic tight end limps off the field is cause for major concern.

What this means for the Patriots: New England can’t keep its playmakers on the field. The Pats had only three receivers at their disposal Sunday thanks to injuries to Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

Losing Gronkowski takes away their biggest mismatch weapon and punches a big hole in an already paper-thin receiving corps. Chris Hogan, one of the team’s three active receivers, also appeared to be playing through injury. Receiver Phillip Dorsett and running back Rex Burkhead also left with injuries.

The good news for the Patriots is that it doesn’t seem to be serious. They can’t afford to be without a weapon like Gronk.