Every week, it seems as if Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will return to action. Every week, he doesn’t.
This week, Gronkowski had the most optimism yet. But Dr. James Andrews, who recently joined the medical effort, wasn’t comfortable clearing Gronkowski to play.
So when will Gronkowski play? Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Gronkowski’s absence likely will be one more game, at most.
The Patriots travel to face the Jets next week, before hosting the Dolphins and the Steelers.
Meanwhile, to the extent that Gronkowski has been practicing but not playing, it’s important for everyone (including the Patriots players who reportedly resent Gronkowski for practicing but not playing) to realize that there’s a difference between practice and games — especially under the new CBA.
It’s a point that Keyshawn Johnson made moments ago on ESPN. Practice is very different from a game. Full contact on a forearm that was broken twice (in different places) and ravaged by infection is a different issue entirely, especially in light of the report that the initial surgery was performed merely to hasten his return — and that it may have contributed to the second fracture and ensuing infection.