Gronkowski hasn’t been cleared yet

AP

As we reported earlier this week, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski expects to be cleared to play on Sunday for the first time since breaking his arm for a second time during the 2012 playoffs.

But Gronkowski, per a source with knowledge of the situation, still has not been cleared.  While clearance could come today or tomorrow, we’re told there is now less optimism regarding the situation.

The play-or-no-play decision will come from Dr. James Andrews, who will rely on scans of the twice-broken forearm in assessing the situation.

This news comes on the heels of an article from WEEI.com regarding concerns over the initial surgery performed by Dr. Tom Gill, the Patriots physician.  Citing unnamed sources, WEEI.com reports that there’s a belief the arm would have healed without surgery, but that surgery was conducted to hasten the healing process.

When Gronkowski returned in January, the arm was broken in a different place, prompting another surgery.  Then, an infection arose, resulting in multiple additional procedures.

The Patriots decided in August to move Gronkowski from the physically unable to perform list to the active roster.  Many interpreted that as a sign of strong confidence that Gronkowski will play at some point before Week Six, since leaving him on the PUP list would have knocked him out for six weeks.

But he also wouldn’t have been able to practice.  For most of the last six weeks, he’s been practicing.  If he had been left of the PUP list, it would have been a tall order to expect him to return to practice for the first time after Week Six, and then to play in Week Seven.