Gronkowski Practices For First Time On Thursday

Ian Logue
February 02, 2012 at 07:47pm ET

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If you're a little superstitious, the Patriots are 1-0 in Super Bowls where one of their best players was battling an ankle injury.

Gronkowski saw some action during Thursday's practice. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Quarterback Tom Brady was knocked out early in the AFC Championship game back in 2002 against the Steelers, and it left quite a few people wondering if he'd be ready to play against the Rams the following week in his first Super Bowl appearance.  Brady obviously went out and lead New England to their first championship, and now the Patriots are hopeful the same thing will happen with yet another one of their key players.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered an ankle injury in the AFC Championship win over the Ravens nearly two weeks ago, but unlike Brady that year he's had a little more time to recover thanks to the bye week. After missing practices the 2nd-year target for Brady finally returned and participated on Thursday.

According to's Alex Marvez Gronkowski participated on a limited basis in the second half of practice, which is good news to most fans who were hopeful to see him in action on Sunday.  He's been in good spirits in all of his media appearances this week, and considering how big of a game that this is, it probably would have been tough to keep him out.  Gronkowski even battled his way back onto the field after suffering the injury late in the game against Baltimore, and it's doubtful anyone would be able to drag him off the field if they tried this time around.

However, Belichick said tomorrow will be the real key for the tight end.

"He did some things. He didn't do everything," Belichick told Marvez. "We'll see how he is tomorrow. I think that will be the big key -- how he responds to this today."

When asked by Marvez about how encouraged he was by what Gronkowski did Thursday, Belichick said, "It was good. It was fine. We’ll see where he is tomorrow -- whether that set him back, whether it didn’t and whether he’s able to continue to progress on a daily basis. But it was a good test for him, too, at least. At least he was out here and did some things to see how it feels. We’ll see how it goes."