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Gronkowski in walking boot

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski was wearing a removable boot on his lower left leg Monday, a day after being injured in the AFC Championship Game.

Gronkowski wore the boot in the locker room and into the trainer's area. He didn't speak with reporters.

The second-year star, who set an NFL record for a tight end with 17 touchdown catches, was hurt in the final minute of the third quarter of Sunday's 23-20 win against Baltimore when he was tackled after a 23-yard reception. He limped off the field but seemed to be walking better as he went to the locker room. Less than five minutes later, Gronkowski was back in the game.

He had five catches for 87 yards.

BRADY SCARE: Patriots owner Robert Kraft "shuddered" when he saw QB Tom Brady take a crunching hit on a 1-yard touchdown plunge Sunday. He even wondered if Brady's back was broken.

Such a graceful dive. Such a powerful blow.

"It was scary," Kraft said Monday, his momentary fears quickly put to rest, "but he popped right up."

Brady shook off the body-bending force of Ravens LB Ray Lewis' helmet to his lower back, spiked the ball and punched the air in celebration after scoring the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

VOLUNTEER SCARVES: A variety of knitters, crocheters and weavers created more than 13,000 blue-and-white scarves to help keep Super Bowl volunteers warm and visible when the big game comes to cold-weather Indianapolis. Thousands, from great-grandmothers to prison inmates, worked on the 6-foot-long scarves. Super Bowl organizers hoped to get 8,000 scarves — one for each volunteer. They ended up with thousands more, sent from 45 states, as well as Belgium, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

ONE MORE GOAL: New York's Eli Manning will be the 19th quarterback to start multiple Super Bowls, but he wants to be on the list with 10 names: Quarterbacks who have won multiple Super Bowls. "Having seen my brother win a Super Bowl and seen him lose a Super Bowl, it's no fun just going there and not winning, I can tell you that," Manning said in his weekly spot on ESPN Radio. "I don't want to experience that."

ODDS AND ENDS: Sunday's NFC title game averaged 57.6 million viewers on Fox, making it the third-most-watched conference final ever, behind Cowboys-49ers in 1982 (68.7 million) and Vikings-Saints (57.9 million) two years ago. … Less than an hour after winning Sunday, the Giants started sending emails telling most non-club season ticket holders that they won't have tickets. Tickets will be sold after a random computer selection that was based on seniority.

SUPER BOWL XLVI

Patriots vs. Giants

When: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium,

Indianapolis

TV/radio: Ch. 8, 1010-AM

Line: Patriots by 3

Gronkowski in walking boot 01/23/12 [Last modified: Monday, January 23, 2012 11:16pm]

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