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Tuesday, 08 October 2013 17:01

Report: Rob Gronkowski likely to return against New Orleans Saints

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(Chris McGrath/Getty Images North America)

It looks like the New England Patriots are finally going to get tight end Rob Gronkowski back on the field. 

That, according to reports by ProfootballTalk.com and ESPN. Both outlets say league sources tell them the 24-year-old Gronkowski is expected to be cleared this week and, though it's not definite, will likely make his season debut Sunday against the Saints. 

Gronkowski missed the first five games of the year as he recovered from arm and back surgeries. The arm, which he broke late in the 2012 season and re-injured in the playoffs, required multiple surgeries and treatment for an infection, which delayed his back surgery. 

New England's offense desperately needs him back on the field. A year after leading the league in touchdowns, the Patriots have scored fewer than every team in the league not named the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gronk has scored double digit touchdowns in each of his three NFL seasons, and has 28 touchdowns in his last 27 regular season games.