Rob Gronkowski Injury Update: Patriots Tight End Officially Concussed As Super Bowl 52 Against Eagles Draws Closer

Three days after he was hit in the head by Barry Church in the second quarter of the New England Patriots' AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Rob Gronkowski's head injury became official.

Gronkowski, the giant tight end who is as vital as anyone not called Tom Brady to the Patriots' offense, was listed as "Concussed" on the Patriots' first injury report of the week late on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old was listed as DNP (Did Not Participate) in Patriots practice on Wednesday (the Patriots didn't practice anyway yesterday, according to the Boston Herald). Gronkowski will have to pass the NFL's return-to-play protocols for concussion and receive the all-clear from an independent neurologist before he can be permitted to play in Super Bowl 52 against the Philadelphia Eagles on February 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Gronkowski, who has made the Pro Bowl five times since he was picked by the Patriots in the second round out of Arizona in 2010, has been around the Patriots' practice facility this week. "Gronkowski was present at the facility Monday," Mike Reiss of ESPN reported on Tuesday. "By the time reporters arrived in the locker room, his chair was folded up at his locker, and he had left." Matthew Slater, the Patriots' special teams captain, told reporters earlier this week that Gronkowski was in, "Pretty good spirits."

Church, the Jaguars safety, was assessed a 15-yard penalty for the hit that caused Gronkowski to stumble as he rose to his feet. "It's the toughest play in football," Church said about the hit earlier this week in quotes reported by WEEI Radio. If you go low for the knees you are considered a dirty player, and if you go high, they throw the flag at you. It's a bang-bang play, and I was just trying to play football. I tried to lead with my shoulder."

The Patriots had four other players listed as injured on Wednesday. Deatrich Wise, the defensive lineman, is also out with concussion and would not have practised on Wednesday. Malcom Brown has a foot injury, while Mike Gillislee and LaAdrian Waddle were listed as 'Limited in Practice' on Wednesday with knee injuries. Jay Ajayi, the Eagles' running back, has an ankle issue but was listed as a full participant in Wednesday's practice.