INDIANAPOLIS -- Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski walked with a confident stride and gait, showing no signs of a limp, into Lucas Oil Stadium. But whatever confidence he had Tuesday afternoon gave way to a visible nervous tension as he sat in his booth for Super Bowl media day.
The enormity of the situation caught up with him when he began to talk to the media, one question after another, as he was peppered with queries about his ankle, which was injured in the third quarter of the AFC championship.
On Monday, according to Gronkowski, the boot that covered his left ankle was removed.
"I'm just going day by day, every single day just working with the training staff," said Gronkowski to the first and most important question of the day. "Whatever the training staff asks me to do, that's what I'm doing."
Asked how much pain he is in: "Like I said, day by day. Whatever the training staff asks me to do, that's all I'm doing."
Is he expecting to play on Sunday?
"I don't know yet. I'm going day by day. Just taking every single day and making new steps every day. Feeling better every day. And that's a positive sign and I just want to keep going in the right direction. I want to be out there with the team obviously. Just taking it step by step and getting better.
"Just trying to get stronger and trying to get better. I'm not really worried about if I'm not playing or not yet. That's on Sunday. The only thing I'm worried about is Tuesday and getting better today. Just keep on moving forward and going into a positive direction and that's all that counts."
Gronkowski was also asked if he would be able to be effective if he played in the Super Bowl without practicing.
"I'm not sure," he said. "That's why I'm with the training staff. Whatever they ask me to do, I have trust in the organization, I have trust in all the coaches, I have trust in all the trainers ... to get me ready, whatever I got to do. When Sunday comes along, they'll have me at the best that I can be."
The burly tight end said his ankle injury would not be a big deal if it were not for the Super Bowl. However, he did say it was getting better.
"I'm improving every day."