Bucs TE Gronkowski (back spasms) ruled out

  • Covered the Buccaneers since 2009
  • Joined ESPN in 2016

The long-awaited return for Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski has been short-lived.

Playing in his first game since suffering cracked ribs and a punctured lung against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, Gronkowski left Sunday’s game at the New Orleans Saints with back spasms and will not return, the team announced.

Gronkowski played a total of five snaps in the first quarter and finished with one target and no catches, while quarterback Tom Brady turned the ball over twice in the first half with a lost fumble and an interception.

Gronkowski returned to practice this week for the first time since suffering the rib injury. His designation on the injury report was “questionable” with the rib injury, but there was no mention of a back injury, although Gronkowski has had back issues in the past. To date, he has undergone three back surgeries between 2009 and 2016 to fix herniated discs and a fractured vertebrae.

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