The Patriots almost made it to their first preseason game unscathed, but the injury bug may have bitten the team today. The first, and perhaps biggest and bears the most watching, is an unknown injury to TE Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski left halfway through practice with some members of the training staff and did not return to practice. He walked off on his own power and didn’t appear to be limping, but the fact that he retreated to the locker room with training staff is a cause for concern.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only potential starter hurt.
The projected starter at right guard and kick-returner extraordinaire Dan Connolly suffered a right-elbow injury. He’ll receive some treatment and see how it responds. Mike Rodak of ESPN Boston noted that Logan Mankins appeared “sluggish” in between drills, but that doesn’t appear to be injury-related. While I wasn’t there to see it, my guess based on Rodak’s description would be that it was a matter of conditioning. Don’t forget that Mankins couldn’t practice due to the CBA rules until just this past Thursday, and today was pretty muggy. Muggy weather doesn’t lend itself well to big guys trying to get into football shape.
Additionally, back-up center Chris Morris appeared to suffer an ankle injury. The depth along the offensive line seems to be taking a hit, so that could be an area to watch in terms of potential signings. If the Patriots were to sign an offensive lineman, they would have to make a cut elsewhere as they are at the 90-man camp limit. Hopefully, none of these injuries are serious and all players will be ready for the regular-season opener.