FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski returned to practice on Friday as the Patriots worked out in sweats and shells inside Gillette Stadium on the main field.
Gronkowski broke his left forearm blocking on the final extra point in New England's 59-28 win over the Colts on Nov. 18. He had surgery the next day and has missed the last three games. Gronkowski was wearing blue long sleeves with no apparent extra padding on the left arm. He was spotted squeezing his left hand during sprints at the start of practice in an apparent test of strength in the arm.
The Boston Globe reported earlier this week that Gronkowski was hopeful to return to practice this week and be available to play Sunday night when the Patriots host the 49ers at Gillette Stadium.
Gronkowski had missed the first two practices this week before taking the field with the team for the first time since breaking his forearm. The Patriots had perfect attendance at practice on Friday among all players eligible to participate. Only the suspended Jermaine Cunningham was not in attendance.
It is likely the Patriots will list Gronkowski as "limited" when the official injury report comes out later on Friday. The Patriots officially listed 17 players as limited on Thursday.
For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots .