It looks like the injury ridden Jake Ballard will get the start at tight end in place of the injured Rob Gronkowski when the Patriots travel to Buffalo to begin their 2013 season on September 8th. While the media squawked and flapped that Gronkowski would be ready for the start of the regular season, the reality finally set in for the Patriots and fantasy owners.
The question now plaguing Patriots Nation is whether or not he will be able to avoid opening the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. This would force him to miss the first 6 games of the season.
Gronkowski is currently on the Patriots’ active/PUP list and can come off of this list anytime before Aug. 31st. If the team feels he’s not healthy enough to return by then, he would be left off of the active roster to begin the season and placed on the PUP list.
While placing Gronk on the PUP is obviously the worst case scenario for the team and fantasy owners alike, reports coming out of New England point to this scenario being avoided. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, says he’s getting a “positive buzz” from the team and has reported that Gronkowski is likely to start the regular season on the active roster.
Stunningly, Gronkowski is still the #2 ranked tight end coming into this fantasy football season. Despite the risks, fantasy owners are throwing caution to the wind and drafting him right behind Jimmy Graham.
The problem is that no one, not even Gronkowski, knows how all of this will play out and when he might actually take the field again.