The New England Patriots got bad news on Wednesday as two key players are officially listed as doubtful for their Thursday night matchup with the New York Jets. Wide receiver Danny Amendola and tight end Rob Gronkowski are both expected to miss New England’s Week 2 contest against its division rival.
Amendola has been limited in practice this week after he aggravated a groin injury during Sunday’s 23-21 win over the Buffalo Bills. The 27-year-old caught 10 passes for 104 yards in Week 1, including two spectacular diving catches. He had seven of those receptions in the second half and gained 64 yards. On the downside of things, he was only on the field for 59 of 94 offensive snaps during the game.
The Patriots signed Amendola to a five-year, $28.5 million deal this offseason and hoped he could step right in and take over for the departed Wes Welker. Amendola has had trouble staying healthy throughout his career, so don’t expect New England to rush him back from this injury. The Patriots will want him fully healthy before throwing him back into action so this doesn’t become a nagging, long-term injury.
Meanwhile, Gronkowski continues his slow march back to the football field after several wrist surgeries and a major back surgery. His back is the issue right now and there is almost no chance he’ll be on the field against the Jets. While listed as doubtful this week, Gronk’s first real chance to play will be in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 24-year-old tight end needs to prove he can stay on the field this year. After he was given an eight-year, $55.23 million contract ($13.17 million guaranteed) in June of 2012, Gronkowski hasn’t been able to remain healthy. Now with Aaron Hernandez gone, Gronk is even more important to New England’s offense.
Julian Edelman is likely to man the slot in Amendola’s absence, while Zach Sudfeld and Michael Hoomanawanui should both fill in for Gronkowski this week.