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Rob Gronkowski (knee) limited in practice for Patriots

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We have a Gronk sighting.

Rob Gronkowski was limited in practice for the New England Patriots on Thursday.

The tight end missed practice Wednesday after sitting out last week's game versus the Philadelphia Eagles with a knee injury. Gronk missed four total practices after suffering the injury in a Week 12 loss to the Broncos.

Thursday's return is a positive sign that Tom Brady's most important receiving target could be back in the lineup Sunday against the Houston Texans

In Week 12, the Pats used Gronk and Scott Chandler in a tight-end heavy packages. Last week, New England was forced to use more three-receiver sets sans Gronkowski and struggled.

The Patriots have lost two consecutive games for just the seventh time since Brady became the starter in 2001. New England's last three-game losing streak came Weeks 4-8, 2002 (four straight -- the only three-plus game losing streak of the Brady era).

Getting Gronk back on the field will be a huge boon to Pats avoiding a three-game skid. Practicing Thursday is the first step.

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