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Gronkowski tears ACL, MCL
The Patriots are a different (read: worse) team without Rob Gronkowski, so the news that he's out for the season after tearing his ACL and MCL must put a damper on their third consecutive comeback win. Gronkowski was hit in the knee by Browns safety T.J. Ward after catching a pass from Tom Brady, and he had to be carted off the field. The news couldn't be much worse for the Patriots, who've won their past three games only by the slimmest of margins and have already suffered devastating injuries to stalwarts like Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. Though Brady thinks the team will adapt, it's hard to see how New England can make another Super Bowl run without their best pass-catcher.
Rob Gronkowski cleared to return
Rob Gronkowski's long absence from the Patriots' roster may finally be at an end. The oft-injured tight end has been cleared to play in Sunday's game against the Jets. The tight-lipped Patriots haven't said whether or not he'll play yet, but considering how important tight end is to Bill Belichick's offense (and how rarely Tom Brady has thrown to tight ends not named Rob Gronkowski this season), we have to imagine they'd want him in there as soon as possible.
pollcenter:category=4494+robgronkowskiclearedtoreturnJim Rogash/Getty Images
NFL Week 7 -- Patriots at Jets
Finally, an easy one for the New England Patriots. Except ... a few weeks back, the New York Jets looked more like a rival than a doormat in a 13-10 Patriots home win. In other words, it's hard to know what to expect from Rex Ryan's team, which has been intermittently good and bad in a 3-3 start. Meanwhile, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady's crew is coming off a comeback win over the New Orleans Saints, one that has fans thinking Super Bowl (if they can get the Rob Gronkowski injury thing sorted, of course).
The Patriots are 4-1 without Rob Gronkowski this season, but it's clear the team wants him back soon. Gronk hasn't yet been cleared to play Sunday against the Saints, which makes Tom Brady's job that much harder. Gronkowski's impact is undeniable considering his position on the all-time list of single-season receiving touchdown leaders. How many of them can you name?More games from ESPN Arcade »
The Patriots' dual-tight end attack was the envy of the league a year ago, but due to the injuries of one and the legal troubles of another, the team has had to drastically scale it back -- Tom Brady has thrown only three passes to Patriots tight ends through the first two weeks. But they may get their best receiver back shortly, as tight end Rob Gronkowski's chance of being in the lineup Sunday against the Buccaneers reportedly is 50-50. His return would come just in time for the Patriots, who are 2-0 but had difficulty moving the ball in their wins over the Bills and Jets.
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