Gronkowski to miss practice with ankle injury

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is being held out of practice with an injured left ankle.

Gronkowski, who set an NFL record for tight ends with 17 touchdown catches this season, limped off the field in the third quarter of Sunday's 23-20 win over Baltimore in the AFC championship game but returned about five minutes later. On Monday he was seen wearing a removable boot on his left foot.

Coach Bill Belichick said that Gronkowski would not take part Thursday in the team's first practice for the Super Bowl against the New York Giants on Feb. 5.

Asked how Gronkowski was progressing, Belichick said, "good, good."

He was noncommittal on how the Patriots would be affected if Gronkowski plays in the Super Bowl without practicing for it.

"We'll just have to see, you know," Belichick said. "He's not going to practice today, so take it day by day. I'm not going to try to forecast where things will be 10 days from now. We'll just take it day by day."

Gronkowski started all 16 regular-season games and two playoff games. Belichick said he believed Gronkowski took part in just about every practice this season.

Also on Thursday, the Patriots signed to the practice squad tight end Carson Butler, who spent most of the 2010 season on their practice squad and was released Sept. 2. The only other tight end on the roster is Aaron Hernandez. Another tight end, Garrett Mills, is on the practice squad.

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