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Rob Gronkowski returns to practice and is trending toward playing Week 8 vs. Saints

We break down the news that Rob Gronkowski was a limited participant in practice on Friday and is questionable for Sunday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) can t hang on to a pass in the end zone in the third quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Friday update: Gronk was once again a limited participant in practice on Friday and officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup against the Saints. He’s still expected to suit up for the NFC South showdown.

Thursday update: Gronkowski was listed as a limited participant in practice on Thursday. This tracks with the team easing him back onto the field in preparation for his return on Sunday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski will reportedly play on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, per ESPN’s Jordan Schultz. The veteran tight end has missed the last four games because of rib and lung injuries.

Fantasy football implications

With Antonio Brown out for another week due to a sprain ankle, getting Rob Gronkowski back is great news for the Buccaneers’ offense. The Bucs survived without Gronk as we saw Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard featured more within in the offense.

In Tampa Bay’s last four games, Brate had six receptions (15 targets) for 67 yards, while Howard had nine receptions (14 targets) for 77 yards and a touchdown. Before Gronkowski got hurt in Week 3, it seemed as if he was on pace for a career-year. The All-Pro tight end had 16 receptions (21 targets) for 184 yards and four touchdowns.

As for Sunday’s opponent, the Saints’ defense has done a great job defending tight ends. They are only giving up four fantasy points per game, which is second-best in the NFL behind the Arizona Cardinals. They’ve also not surrender a single touchdown to tight ends through seven weeks.