New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) reacts after his touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 59-24. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski will decide when to play

New England Patriots star TE Rob Gronkowski was initially expected to play this week in a big game against the New Orleans Saints, but fantasy owners will most likely have to pull Gronkowski for another week. He has still not been cleared by Dr. James Andrews, who is a third opinion on Gronk’s arm, which has been keeping him out of game action. The Patriots have cleared Gronk for action, but his doctor hasn’t. There are concerns over the long-term well-being of Gronk’s arm following all those surgeries, and multiple reports have stated that the expectation is that Gronk will miss another game.

The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin was told by a league source that the decision “is mostly up to” Rob Gronkowski, and he holds all the cards for his return at this point. He can play whenever he wants since the team has cleared him, but Gronkowski will obviously stay out of games until Andrews clears him. He and his camp clearly don’t trust the Patriots, because they reportedly performed surgery on him when he first broke his arm in order for him to return earlier. The interesting thing is that both Gronkowski and the Patriots wanted this to happen so that he would return earlier, but Gronk most likely had no knowledge of the negative ramifications of the surgery.

Gronkowski’s return would be huge for the entire New England Patriots offense, because he makes an extraordinary impact on the game as a receiver and blocker. He truly does open things up for the rest of the offense, but the Patriots can make do without him as long as Tom Brady plays like he did in Week 4 and the wideouts step up.

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Tags: Injury Report New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski

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