No glove for Brady; ‘Gronk’ back in practice


Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.

Two of the New England Patriots’ most important players are getting healthier as they prepare to head to Minneapolis for Super Bowl week.

After getting stitches in his right hand and thumb prior to the AFC championship game last week, quarterback Tom Brady was on the practice field Saturday, gripping the ball without a glove on his throwing hand. Tight end Rob Gronkowski also was at practice, returning to workouts after starting the week in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Both are positive signs for New England, which has just one practice remaining in Foxborough before the team heads to Minnesota to resume its Super Bowl preparations. Defensive lineman Deatrich Wise, who also missed practice time this week with a concussion, joined Gronk in the team stretching period that is open to reporters.

Gron-kowski hadn’t been on the practice field since his second-quarter exit from the AFC title game following a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jaguars safety Barry Church.

“It’s always great to have him out there. He’s a great player, a great person, a great teammate and a big part of what we do,” Brady said of Gronkowski. “It obviously hurts when he’s not out there for a lot of reasons. But he’s doing the best he can do and we’re all hopeful.”

While Gronkowski and Wise were on the field, it’s unclear whether they have been officially cleared from the protocol. The team isn’t required to file its next injury report until Wednesday.

Gronk played just eight games last season and missed the Patriots’ entire playoff run after undergoing season-ending back surgery.

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