New England’s Rob Gronkowski won’t be on the field Sunday in San Francisco.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the Patriots tight end was not aboard the team plane as coaches and players prepared to fly west to face the 49ers, per a source informed of the situation.
The Patriots later confirmed that Gronkowski has been officially ruled out for Week 11.
The All-Pro pass-catcher didn’t practice all week as he continues to heal from the perforated lung he suffered in Sunday night’s tight loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Gronkowski’s absence means a bigger workload for fellow tight end Martellus Bennett, but the timing of the injury couldn’t come at a better time: The Niners own one of the NFL’s worst defenses and should have their hands full with Patriots passer Tom Brady and his remaining flock of weapons. However, that won’t include wide receiver Chris Hogan, who has been ruled out because of a back injury.
We expect Gronkowski to be back in action next week for the Patriots, who currently hold a two-game lead in the AFC East and sit above all competition as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.