Source: Gronkowski to play MNF, barring setback

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski will play Monday night against the New York Giants as long as he avoids any pregame setbacks, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Gronkowski is officially listed as questionable with a back injury. The five-time Pro Bowler has missed five games this season because of back spasms, cracked ribs and a punctured lung.

Gronkowski practiced in full Thursday and Friday for the first time since suffering his injuries, saying the workouts were “crucial steps” in his recovery.

“The arrow is pointing up to play this week, and hopefully it’s a go,” Gronkowski said Friday.

Bucs coach Bruce Arians echoed Gronkowski’s comments, saying he “looks better and better.”

Gronkowski, 32, originally suffered the injuries in Week 3 and missed four games before returning in Week 8, when he played just five snaps before exiting because of the back spasms.

The Buccaneers also are expected to activate cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting for Monday night’s game, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Murphy-Bunting has been out since Tampa Bay’s season opener with an elbow injury.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.

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