action:article | category:SPORTS0401 | adString:SPORTS0401 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Football » Patriots/NFL

October 08. 2013 5:12PM

'Gronk' may return Sunday for Patriots


New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski watches drills during training camp at the practice fields of Gillette Stadium. (Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports)

The New England Patriots are optimistic doctors will clear Rob Gronkowski to play this week and that the tight end will make his season debut Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, according to league sources and ESPN.com.

Gronkowski has missed the Patriots' first five games following a series of surgeries on his fractured forearm and ailing back.

ProFootballTalk.com had earlier reported that Gronkowski was expected to return this week.

Dr. James Andrews is serving as an independent physician and is charged with determining whether Gronkowski is cleared to play, a source told ESPN. Andrews is considered the most accomplished orthopedic surgeon in the world, but he didn't operate on Gronkowski.

If Gronkowski plays, it will validate the team's decision to keep him on the 53-man roster rather than placing him on the physically unable to perform list. If not, the Patriots will have wasted a roster spot because Gronkowski would have been eligible to return after missing six games if he'd been placed on the PUP list.

Quarterback Tom Brady depends heavily on Gronkowski, especially in the red zone. The Patriots (4-1) have gone from leading the NFL in touchdowns last season to ranking ahead of only the winless Jacksonville Jaguars this season.

The Patriots are coming off their worst offensive performance of the Brady era, a 13-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in which they failed to score a touchdown, ending Brady's streak of games with at least one touchdown pass at 52.

Gronkowski's health issues began when he fractured his left forearm in the fourth quarter of a 59-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 18, 2012. The injury occurred on an extra point, and Gronkowski (a blocker on the play) underwent surgery the next day.

He returned to action in the regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 30. He was charted on the field for 25 snaps that day, a limited workload, and did not look entirely comfortable as he favored the injured forearm while running.

In an AFC Divisional round playoff victory two weeks later over the Houston Texans, Gronkowski landed on his left forearm on the seventh offensive play and re-broke it. He underwent surgery the next day.

About a month later, Gronkowski underwent a third surgery on the forearm, this time for an infection. After then undergoing a series of antibiotic treatments, with doctors feeling confident the infection had been eradicated, Gronkowski had a fourth surgery on the forearm on May 20. That surgery replaced the plate in the forearm, as doctors generally like to remove hardware that has been exposed to infection, and allowed doctors to confirm the infection had indeed been eradicated.

While recovering from the fourth forearm surgery, Gronkowski also underwent surgery on his back — called a microscopic lumbar discectomy — on June 18. Dr. Robert Watkins performed the surgery.


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Jason Saltmarsh: Runners should never have to pay for their race photos

Ex-official pleads guilty to embezzling thousands from Pembroke football nonprofit

Former New Hampshire goalie DeSmith tells his side of arrest, dismissal from team

NH hockey team moving to Maine could be worth at least $1 million in economic activity say city officials

New owners of Claremont plan to put speedway back on track

Speedway in Claremont bought for nearly $519,000

Lebanon marathoner qualifies for US Olympic Trials

Matt Bonner talks about the end of the run, making the simple play, and playing until he's 40

Ex-UNH goalie agrees to diversion,receive counseling, avoids jail

Wildcats will face Chattanooga in prime time

New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies teaches supporters how to believe

Helmetless Football? Its the new practice at UNH

CASEY DeSMITH

DeSmith officially dismissed from New Hampshire team, but can return to class as of Dec. 20

San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15), of Concord, N.H., shoots the ball against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the second half at TD Garden.

Rapper Lil B gives shoutout to…Matt Bonner?

Manchester Central's Tyler Stratton watches his shot get by Spaulding High School (Rochester) goalie Derek Scott during a shootout at the 2012 Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic hosted at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.

VFW downsizing threatens Spaulding hockey due to loss of venue for Bingo fundraisers

Eagles notes: Kelly committed to current job

5 face riot charges in beating incident at football game

Ayotte rips top sports league commissioners for snubbing hearing on domestic violence

Manchester Monarchs sign Josh Gratton to AHL contract

Can football without helmets lead to fewer concussions?

Trial date set for former UNH hockey coach accused of assaulting player

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!