Posted September 09, 2013

Report: Rob Gronkowski ‘unlikely’ to play against Jets on Thursday

Rob Gronkowski is likely to miss Thursday's game against the Jets.  (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski is likely to miss Thursday’s game against the Jets. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is unlikely to play in Thursday’s AFC East matchup against the New York Jets, The Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian reported Monday.

At the same time, the Patriots have yet to officially rule out Gronkowski. And his status is a clear upgrade from this time last week, when he was officially determined out of the Patriots’ season-opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Gronkowski’s condition continues to improve following offseason surgeries on his left forearm and back. Last week, he practiced with the team in full pads for the first time since undergoing his surgeries.

Gronkowski broke his left forearm in Week 11 last season, and he re-injured it during the first quarter of the Patriots’ first playoff game. The Patriots have previously said that a late-September return is more likely.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would be thrilled by the addition of Gronkowski to New England’s offense. He only threw three passes to tight ends — a position that normally has been a strength for the team with Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who is now incarcerated.

Gronkowski, who has made two Pro Bowls, led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 2011. He caught 11 touchdowns last season.