New England Patriots star TE Rob Gronkowski is set to miss a sixth game this year, as he still hasn’t been cleared by third party doctor Dr. James Andrews. Gronkowski no longer trusts the Patriots team doctors, so the Patriots have allowed Andrews to make the call as a neutral party. He was expected to play in today’s game against the New Orleans Saints, but the Patriots offense will have to pull it together without Gronk for at least another week.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports, citing a source, that Rob Gronkowski is expected to miss a maximum of “one more game”. This means that he could still miss next week’s rivalry game against the New York Jets, but it also means that it would be a surprise for him to miss the following week’s huge divisional matchup against a legitimate playoff contender in the Miami Dolphins.
Gronkowski’s teammates are reportedly showing some frustrating over the fact that the star tight end isn’t playing, because they believe he has played so well in practice that he is fully healthy. The Patriots team doctors already cleared Gronkowski a few weeks ago, but it is clear that Gronk is worried about the long-term status of his arm and only wants to return when he believes he is 110% healthy. He already returned too early after he first broke his arm, and there’s also the matter that it is more important for Gronkowski to be healthy in the long-term; even when looking at the total course of this season.
There’s a lot at play in this very interesting case, and you can make legitimate arguments of either side. My belief is that Rob Gronkowski should only play when James Andrews clears him, assuming that Andrews is a completely neutral party. It’s honestly wise and most prudent for Gronk to sit out another week, and the timeline that source presents to PFT makes a ton of sense. It’s not the end of the world if Gronkowski misses the second meeting with the Jets, but it would be of huge concern if he still isn’t ready to play by Week 8.