ORCHARD PARK, NY – OCTOBER 29: Detail of Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots jersey nameplate during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on October 29, 2018 in Orchard Park, New York. New England defeats Buffalo 25-6. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

It looks like the New England Patriots will have to keep waiting for their star tight end to take the field. According to Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald, tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to miss Week 10’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans. This will the third game of the season New England will play without Gronkowski

While this news is unfortunate, it isn’t exactly unexpected. The star tight end has struggled through an ankle injury all season long and had a back injury pop up roughly a month ago. These injuries have forced Gronkowski out of Week Seven against the Chicago Bears and Week Nine against the Green Bay Packers.

Playing one game out of four obviously isn’t ideal, but the Patriots appear to be ultra conservative with Gronkowski’s status. New England has a bye after their Week 10 matchup and are likely trying to keep Gronkowski rested for a final stretch of the season.

The 2018 season has been a frustrating one for the big tight end. After going off for seven receptions, 123 yards, and one touchdown in the season opener, Gronkowski just hasn’t looked like himself. On the season, Gronkowski has just 29 receptions for 448 yards and a touchdown in seven games. While these are good on their own, they’re a far cry from what he typically produces.

This isn’t the first time Gronkowski has struggled with back and ankle injuries. Back in the 2011 AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens, Gronkowski suffered a high-ankle sprain midway through the third quarter. While he came back into the game, he was clearly limited both in that game and in Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants.

Gronkowski’s history of back injuries is even longer. Back in 2009, Gronkowski missed his Junior year of college after suffering a bulging disk in his back. In 2013, he underwent surgery for a fractured vertebra. Back in 2016, Gronkowski’s season prematurely ended after re-aggravating a back injury in Week 12 over the New York Jets.

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