INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) – The biggest question mark heading into Super Bowl XLVI is the status of Rob Gronkowski’s ankle.
Gronk talks about his healing ankle:
The 22-year-old was the biggest draw at Tuesday’s media day at Lucas Oil Stadium, and he wouldn’t say much about his injury, other than that he’s feeling better and is taking it day by day.
WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche reports.
“I’m not really worried about if I’m not playing or not yet. That’s on Sunday,” Gronkowski, who was no longer wearing his protective boot, told the reporters crowding his podium at media day.
“The only thing I’m worried about is Tuesday. Just keep on moving forward, going in a positive direction, and that’s all that counts.”
Gronkowski did say he’s feeling “good,” but admitted to some nagging pain.
“[The game is] six days away,” Gronkowski said. “I could be 100 percent by then. I could be 2 percent by then. We’re just taking it day by day.
“I’m young. I’m healthy, and I feel blessed like that. Whatever it is, I hope I’m a quick healer.”
The Chief of Sports Medicine at Tufts Medical Center Dr. Chris Geary is hopeful we will see Rob Gronkowski playing on Sunday. “All indications seem to be he is going to play, says Dr. Geary. “I don’t think there is a whole lot of doubt about that.”
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports
We brought the video of Gronk walking at Media Day in Indy to Dr Geary. After watching it, he said, “I’m a little optimistic. I think he will be somewhat limited, but I don’t think he is going to be as limited as a lot of people think.”
“For the situation he’s in, it looks good,” says Geary. “He was walking without a boot, no visible limp, he was able to turn a little bit. It’s hard to read into how that plays out in a game situation but in a controlled environment he looked good.”
“The fact he is out of (the boot) means he is probably making some progress and there is a point now where they feel that they don’t need to protect him for day to day activities.”
It’s been a week and a half since Gronk suffered the high ankle sprain. Dr. Geary says it’s much different from a low ankle sprain, which often happens when playing basketball or taking a bad step off a curb. With a high ankles sprain, the injury is higher up in the leg, in the ligament between the two bones in the leg. Dr. Geary says, “It’s a wider zone of injury and tends to take a little longer to recover than a standard ankle sprain.”
We’ve seen some publicized high ankle sprains that take longer than two weeks to recover, including Ben Roethlisberger. Dr. Geary says there are different grades to these sprains; some require surgery, and others do not.
Dr. Geary was at the AFC Championship game. When he saw the injury, he says he didn’t think Gronk would be back. “I was afraid he was going to be done. It was a bad injury.” But he was pleasantly surprised by what happened next. “The fact he came back and played in that game, the fact that he’s already out of the boot, and the fact that he is a (22)-year-old superhuman athlete are all in his favor.”
Dr. Geary says, “The big test will come when the ankle gets hit. When he gets tackled, if it gets rolled like that and someone lands on it, what will that do to him and how much will that exacerbate the injury.”
In addition to the boot, Gronk has been undergoing a lot of treatment. Dr. Geary says he is likely being treated with ultrasound to quiet down the inflammation.
On the day of the game they will tape it to stabilize it, but he says the tape jobs can only go so far. He says a lot of players get Toradol injections, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. “It’s pretty standard with a lot of players, I’m sure he’ll get something along those lines.”
Dr. Geary says there are long acting local anesthetics, but that could be difficult with this type of injury because of the size the area, which runs from the knee to your ankle. “If the whole thing is involved it basically involves numbing up your whole leg and playing with a numb leg isn’t compatible with playing in an NFL game.”
Dr. Geary will be at the game wearing his Gronk shirt. “Hopefully he will come through for us!” he says.
“He’s a big part of our offense. We definitely need him out there to play the way that he can play,” Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker told reporters Tuesday.
If you want to follow Dr. Geary on Twitter: @ChrisGearyOrtho.
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.