Rob Gronkowski’s ankle injury would keep him out of a regular season game

I don't know if you've heard, but Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is dealing with an ankle injury ahead of Super Bowl XLVI. Gronk's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, talked a little bit about it on NBC "SportsTalk" Thursday. Via Pro Football Talk:

Rosenhaus was careful to point out that he didn't want to get himself in trouble with Patriots coach Bill Belichick.  But Rosenhaus also conceded that the injury is sufficiently bad that, if it wasn't the Super Bowl, Gronkowski definitely wouldn't be playing.

But it is the Super Bowl, and at this point, I think everyone just assumes that we'll see Gronkowski playing on Sunday. He did take part in practice on Thursday for the first time since the AFC championship game, and head coach Bill Belichick reported no setbacks.

But if there's zero chance that he'd play in a regular-season game, one has to wonder how badly Gronkowski will be hobbled during the game. Can he even be a factor?

And is there a possibility that he won't be a factor, the Patriots know he won't be a factor, and they're going through the charade just so the Giants have to prepare for him anyway? I'm not usually the conspiracy theory type, but it is Bill Belichick and it is the Super Bowl, so I'm not ruling out anything.

Rob Gronkowski might not even exist. He might just be a series of CGI highlights created by Jerry Bruckheimer and fed to ESPN to convince the Giants that they had to prepare for a superhuman tight end.

Personally, I'm hoping for the opposite scenario ‒ that Gronkowski, with the benefit of a miracle or a needle, can go out there on Sunday and perform like he's 100 percent. Unless you're a Giants fan, we all lose with a limited Gronk.