New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is winning his battle to be fit for this Sunday’s Super Bowl showdown with New York Giants (Super Bowl XLVI Game Line – Patriots 5/7, Giants 6/5 with bet365).
The 22-year-old suffered an ankle injury in the Pats’ AFC Championship victory over the Baltimore Ravens and was considered a doubt for the Indianapolis NFL showpiece.
But Gronkowski (4/9 Touchdown Anytime with bet365) practised for the first time on Friday and hopes are high that he will be able to take his place in the New England offence.
Head coach Bill Belichick insists it was too early to say following Friday’s practice, whether he would be fit to face the Giants.
Belichick revealed: “He did some things. He didn’t do everything. We’ll see how he is. I think that will be the big key – how he responds to this session.”
Gronkowski is a key player for the Patriots, setting the National Football League records for a tight end, with 1,327 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns this season.
Meanwhile, the Giants are waiting for news on the fitness of running back Ahmad Bradshaw, after he sat out Friday’s practice session.
Bradshaw (10/11 Rush Attempts – Over 14.5 with bet365) has an injured right foot, which Giants coach Tom Coughlin revealing that is was ‘a little sore’ but is confident ‘he will be ready’.
New York Giants (25/1 with bet365 to win Super Bowl XLVI) cornerback Terrell Thomas could miss the whole of the NFL season, after suffering a serious knee injury.
The 26-year-old picked up the problem during his team’s pre-season clash with Chicago Bears (4/1 to win NFC North), when he collided with team-mate Jason Pierre-Paul.
Thomas left the field during the first half and medical scans have revealed that the Californian suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament
The absence of the cornerback will be a big blow for the NFC East outfit, with Thomas making the highest number of tackles of any Giants player last season and was tied for 12th in the NFL for interceptions.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Steelers (13/2 to win AFC Championship) have announced that they have agreed a new six-year contract with linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
Simmons, who was 15th overall pick in the 2007 draft, has started 30 games in four seasons, recording 196 tackles, 15 sacks and two interceptions.
Ben Roethlisberger is looking to finish the season on the ultimate high with victory in Super Bowl XLV (Steelers 13/10, Packers 4/6 – bet365 Match Betting) following a controversial start to the campaign.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was suspended for four games earlier in the season after being accused of sexual assault although no criminal charges were filed.
Roethlisberger has bounced back with some outstanding performances, which has ultimately led the Steelers (20/21 First Team To Score) to Sunday?s NFL showpiece in Dallas.
The 28-year-old is looking to win his third Super Bowl ring, when Pittsburgh face the Green Bay Packers, and the quarterback says he needs “no extra motivation” ahead of the big showdown.
Roethlisberger (11/4 to be 2011 MVP) said: “It is about how you come back from mistakes. It is like a football game. You throw an interception and you bounce back from your mistake.”
The former Miami University star is yet to win the MVP award in the season finale and that will also be in his sights this weekend.
Roethlisberger (4/9 to complete his first pass of the game) threw the winning touchdown as the Steelers claimed a record sixth Super Bowl title by beating the Arizona Cardinals in 2009, but wide receiver Santonio Holmes was named Most Valuable Player.
New Orleans Saints (10/3 with bet365 to win NFC Championship) are sweating on the fitness of Reggie Bush, who could face a spell on the sidelines with a right leg injury.
The defender Super Bowl champions picked up their second win of the new season with a last-gasp success over San Francisco 49ers on Monday evening.
A Garrett Hartley 37-yard field goal proved to be the last play of the game, as the Saints (2/5 to win NFC South) snatched a 25-22 victory to make it two wins out of two.
But an injury to running back Bush is major concern, after the 25-year-old was taken off on a cart during the fourth quarter.
The 2005 Heisman Trophy winner suffered the injury on a punt return and will be sent for X-rays on Tuesday.
The Saints are yet to confirm how serious the injury is to Bush, but early reports suggest he could be sidelined for six weeks.
The player himself admitted after the match: “It hurt like hell. When I got back up and tried to walk on it, it felt terrible. That’s all I can say.”
Bush seems likely to miss the Saints next clash, when they face Atlanta Falcons at home on Sunday September 26.