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Rob Gronkowski dealing with 4 cracked ribs and punctured lung

Bucs TE’s injury was worse than first reported.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) grimaces as he gets hit by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Terrell Lewis (52) during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium.  Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is out against his former team, the New England Patriots, due to a rib injury. His injury, at first, was reported as sore ribs, but that original report has been amended a couple times now. In the latest report, Gronkowski now has four cracked ribs and a punctured lung, per FOX’s Jay Glazer.

Amazingly, Gronkowski returned to last week’s game after suffering those injuries in Week 3. Previous reports had him missing two weeks, but the severity of this injury might have him out longer. Gronk is tough, but they’ll want him healthy later in the season.

Cameron Brate is the next most-trusted tight end, while O.J. Howard continues to show flashes, but isn’t trusted enough to pass Brate on the depth chart. The Patriots have been tough on tight ends this season, so it’s probably best to wait on Brate as a start and see how their usage looks in this Week 4 matchup.