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Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, told the Joe Rose Show on 560 WQAM in Miami that his client has not yet been cleared to play by Dr. James Andrews, the renowned orthopedic surgeon who is independently consulting with Gronkowski as he recovers from back and forearm surgeries.
|Rob Gronkowski has missed the first six games of the season after multiple surgeries on his forearm and a back procedure.|
"Up to this point, he hasn't been cleared to play in a game," Rosenhaus said Thursday. "He has not been cleared by Dr. Andrews, who is the supervising doctor."
Although Gronkowski has yet to play in a game, he has taken part in every Patriots practice during the regular season, each time on a limited basis.
Asked Thursday if he has anything new to add, Gronkowski said, "No, nothing."
"I'm just improving every week, that's all, really," he said. "I mean, like I said, nothing's changed man, and nothing has changed the whole time. And just the one thing that has changed actually is that I'm improving every week and it's going good."
Coach Bill Belichick has continued to refer to Gronkowski as day to day.
"There's a huge difference between being cleared to practice and being cleared to play in a game," Rosenhaus said. "I've had great dialogue with Coach Belichick and the Patriots' medical staff and Rob and his family. Everybody's on the same page, except it's gotten a lot of play in the media and all these unsubstantiated sources."
Gronkowski echoed Rosenhaus' thoughts that all sides were "on the same page."
"It's basically myself, the doctors and just talking to the coaches, especially with Coach Belichick, to see how everything's going," Gronkowski said. "We talk all the time on how everything's going, and me and him have been on the same page the whole time since the beginning and the decision will be made eventually."
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter has reported that Gronkowski has gone through practice as if he were going to play, even being tackled by teammates during contact drills, adding that some within the organization were unsure why Gronkowski has not played in a game.
Rosenhaus reaffirmed that Gronkowski will return to game action only after he has been cleared by Andrews, stating that the cautious approach by his client should be expected.
"All I can tell you [is] it's really straightforward: When Rob is cleared, he'll play," Rosenhaus said. "It shouldn't be a big surprise to people that the guy has a very cautious approach right now, because he had four operations on that forearm and he had a back operation."
While many believed Gronkowski would have returned sooner, Rosenhaus expressed that the timetable for the 24-year-old tight end's recovery has not been a surprise.
There's a huge difference between being cleared to practice and being cleared to play in a game.” -- Agent Drew Rosenhaus, on his client, Rob Gronkowski, still not being cleared to play by Dr. James Andrews
"Quite frankly, it's not a huge upset that up to this point he hasn't been cleared to play in a game," he said. "We anticipated this. Hopefully he'll be back soon, maybe even this weekend, but there's no way to know until the end of the week when his doctors make that determination."
Should Gronkowski play Sunday, he would provide a big boost to an offense that worked through extensive personnel turnover this offseason and continues to build chemistry through the first half of the season. The team opted not to place Gronkowski on the physically unable to perform list, which would have prevented him from practicing until after the team's Week 6 game against the New Orleans Saints.
"Obviously I want to be out there. I love the game of football. I love playing," Gronkowski said. "I love playing the game, and it's great being out there with my teammates, practicing out there, getting on the same page, getting the chemistry down and we'll see."
The team has relied heavily on tight end Michael Hoomanawanui this season, though Gronkowski's absence has certainly left a void among quarterback Tom Brady's pass-catchers.
The Patriots have dealt with numerous injuries on both sides of the ball yet have managed a 5-1 start with a chance to sweep a division rival, the New York Jets (3-3), on Sunday.