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Report: Patriots' Rob Gronkowski unlikely to play against Bears in Week 7

Rob Gronkowski had a new injury pop up in practice this week and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. (Getty)

The New England Patriots traveled to the Windy City for a Week 7 matchup against the Chicago Bears, but star tight end Rob Gronkowski wasn’t on the flight with the team. Unfortunately for New England, he probably won’t play against Chicago. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Saturday that Gronkowski is “highly unlikely” to play against the Bears.

Heading into Week 7, Gronkowski was listed as questionable on the Patriots’ injury report with ankle and back injuries. Now, quarterback Tom Brady will be without his go-to target.

How does this injury affect the Patriots?

The answer is simple: in a huge way. Gronkowski is the Patriots’ top receiver, registering a team-high 405 receiving yards in six games. Indeed, he only has one receiving touchdown this season. But the Patriots will miss his size, speed and route-running prowess in the red zone.

Now, tight end Dwayne Allen will appear in the starting lineup against a stingy Bears defense. Allen only hauled in one catch for -4 yards this season. Chicago’s ninth-ranked defense is no joke, so Allen will probably struggle with getting open.

Even though New England has Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Chris Hogan — Gronkowski, like Brady, is the key to the Patriots’ success on offense. But in classic Patriots’ fashion, someone on this team will probably step up and play well. The Patriots, however, need Gronkowski back in the lineup as soon as possible.

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