Barring a setback in pregame warmups a la Richard Sherman just last week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers expect tight end Rob Gronkowski to make his (second) highly anticipated return to the gridiron on Monday night against the New York Giants, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
In case you're confused, Sherman was on track to retake the field against Washington after nursing a hamstring injury, only to injure his calf in pre-game warmups and go on the injured reserve days later.
Gronkowski has been in recovery mode after fracturing his ribs in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams. He briefly re-entered the Buccaneers' lineup in Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints, but aggravated his injury and suffered from back spams just six snaps into the game.
In under three games this season, Gronkowski has caught 16 passes for 184 yards and four touchdowns, each within the red zone. Tampa Bay has scored touchdowns in the red zone on five percent less of their opportunities without Gronkowski available.
Gronkowski's presence in the passing game, even beyond scoring, has been sorely missed since Week 3. Backup tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard have combined for just 20 receptions on 39 targets for 181 yards and two touchdowns in Gronkowski's absence.
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