Patriots TE Gronkowski, LT Light seem to be on pace to play

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rob Gronkowski has the most talked-about left ankle in all of football.

The New England Patriots' record-breaking tight end hasn't practiced since injuring his ankle during the AFC Championship Game, but he was able to shed the walking boot he wore when the team's plane touched down Sunday in Indianapolis.

"Rob's getting better," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday morning, before the team's latest Super Bowl XLVI practice. "We'll just have to see where he is today. I think he's making improvement and getting better every day, and we'll just take it day to day. We'll see what he is able to do today."

As the Patriots continue preparations for the New York Giants, Gronkowski has been working to get healthy.

"I'll meet up with the trainers and see what they have to say," Gronkowski said. "I feel better every day, and that's the goal. That's the positive direction. You want to be moving forward every, single day. If you're moving backwards, that's not good at all. The rehab is going well, and we're on pace."

Gronkowski isn't the only Patriot to miss time this week. Offensive tackle Matt Light missed Monday's practice and Tuesday's Media Day with an illness, but he said he planned to practice Wednesday.

"I was doing the zipline downtown, and it was the only time they had available," Light jokingly said. "Dadgum it, I couldn't pass it up. They sold out of the tickets, and I wanted to make sure I got my opportunity. I was a little under the weather. We're good to go, ready to rock and roll."

As the Patriots' left tackle, Light has the responsibility of protecting quarterback Tom Brady's blindside from oncoming defenders. And Light has done it for a long time, starting 153 of 155 games during his 11-year NFL career.

"Matt's been a real solid guy for us at left tackle since we drafted him (in the second round) in 2001, and he's gone against a lot of great players on that left side," Belichick said. "I'm sure that Tom has a lot of confidence in playing behind Matt, as he has for over a decade. Matt is really a solid player out there. From time to time, we've used other players out there, but Matt's held that down for a long time and done a great job."

Tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who is also recovering from an illness that caused him to miss Tuesday's media day, told the Boston Globe on Wednesday that he should be ready to go Sunday. Except for feeling "under the weather," Vollmer said he is healthy, and has put previous injuries to his back and foot behind him.

"I'm definitely better," he said. "I mean I haven't practiced for a while and I started practicing not too long ago, so it feels definitely better, there's no doubt about that."

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