After missing the first two games of the 2009 season with a lingering back injury, Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski was expected to make his debut when the Wildcats face Iowa Saturday afternoon in Iowa City, Iowa.
However, that won't be the case. Arizona head coach Mike Stoops announced after Wednesday's practice that the team's starting tight end won't see the field against the Hawkeyes.
While Stoops did say Gronkowski wouldn't play, he didn't provide specifics about the extent of Gronkowski's injury.
""We're going to make some kind of decision here on what to do next over the next couple of days, but he won't play Saturday at Iowa,"" Stoops said. ""… I'm not going to get into his injury. I mean, he's out. End of story.""
Gronkowski — a 6-foot-6, 265-pound junior — has been sidelined for the majority of the time since fall camp began in early August, but it appeared as if he would be healthy for Arizona's first road game. He was in pads and practicing with the team during Tuesday's training session.
Starting quarterback Matt Scott said earlier in the week that the team was preparing as if Gronkowski would be making his return early in the week. If the tight end could suit up, Scott said Gronkowski would help an offense facing it's first road test of the season.
""It would be a great luxury. A big guy like that, he's an easy target to hit,"" Scott said. ""He can break tackles really well and get where he needs to go.""
But the only place Gronkowski will be going Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes said he found out Gronkowski wouldn't be available for the Iowa game Wednesday morning, but he couldn't give a timetable for when Gronkowski might return to Arizona's lineup.
""I don't know what's going on, honestly. They just tell me if he's available or not available. If he's available we'll game plan for him to be there and if he's not then we won't,"" Dykes said. ""They told me today that he's out… I don't even know why or what the deal was or any of that.""