Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.--If New England Patriots fans were hoping for a Rob Gronkowski return, the latest news regarding the tight end is not what they want to hear. Per Ed Werder of ESPN, the Patriots do not expect him to play when the team takes on the New Orleans Saints Sunday evening.
Just filed to ESPN: Despite Rob Gronkowski having another week of full practice participation, @Patriots no longer expect TE play vs Saints
Gronkowski still has not been cleared to play by Dr. James Andrews, and is still recovering from multiple surgeries on his fractured forearm and ailing back. Andrews is serving as an independent physician and both the team and Gronkowski have given him the task of determining whether the 24-year old is able to play.
In addition, the former Arizona Wildcat has not been cleared to play by Dr. Jessie Jupiter who performed the most recent forearm surgery and people close to Gronk would like to make sure that he is fully healthy before strapping on the pads again. On the other hand, people who have watched him practice do not understand why he hasn’t played in a game yet according to Werder.
On Thursday, Gronkowski himself said that he remained day-to-day.
"It's basically nothing new," he said. "I mean, I'm just working hard every week, working hard out at practice, and nothing's changed, we're day by day, like we've been from the very beginning."
[I'm] really just taking it each day at a time and just trying to improve each day at a time. And that's all,” he said when asked what he and the doctors needed to see to be sure that he would be ready to take the field again.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says that he is not speculating about his teammate’s return date, like many football enthusiasts are.
"We've kind of talked about it a lot the last five weeks," Brady said. "If he's there, he's there. If he's not, he's not. We're going to try to go win anyway."
This is discouraging news for a team about to face a Saints squad that boasts a high-powered offense, ranking second in the league in passing yards (327.2). Following a disheartening 13-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, a win over the Saints would surely boost team morale. However with this news, the road to victory just got bumpier for Bill Belichick and company.