Rob Gronkowski injury update: Patriots TE (ankle/back) didn't practice Thursday

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, a limited participant in practice for several weeks because of nagging back and ankle problems, sat out practice Thursday.

Although Gronkowski has been struggling with the ailments most of the season, he has missed only one game.

Still, sitting out a practice this late in the week ahead of a Week 9 prime-time matchup against the Packers isn’t particularly encouraging.

The Pats’ final injury report and his status for Sunday night’s game is due Friday afternoon. He has been listed as questionable the past five games but missed only the Week 7 win over the Bears.

Gronkowski is the Patriots’ second-leading receiver with 29 catches for 448 yards, only 11 yards back of leader James White despite having 26 fewer receptions and missing the one game. Gronkowski has one receiving touchdown.

If he’s unable to play, then look for Tom Brady to lean more on Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Josh Gordon, especially if the game turns into a shootout between Brady and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.