Rob Gronkowski Still Hasn’t Been Cleared to Play Sunday

Who's going to tell the ducklings?

Despite several reports earlier this week that the Patriots thought it likely that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski would play on Sunday, ESPN is dashing everyone’s hopes today with a report saying that it’s actually not that definite a prospect. Or as ESPN’s Adam Schefter put it:

Who’s going to tell the prematurely decked out ducklings on Boston Common?

duc ks

Ducklings on Boston Common dressed up in anticipation of Gronk’s potential return. Credit: MEGAN TRIPP

Meanwhile, WEEI reports that Gronkowski ironically might have been back with us earlier in the season had he not undergone a surgery intended to speed up his return to the field: has learned from multiple industry sources that the arm, injured initially on Nov. 18, 2012, against the Colts, might have healed properly on its own with no surgery necessary. But the team and Gronkowski, perhaps looking to hasten his return to the field, decided upon surgery to use an implement in hopes he would be ready for the playoffs.

That glimpse into the Patriots’ medical decisions has caused a little flurry of debate about whether the Patriots doctors and Gronk should have just sat back and let the arm heal on its own schedule or not as we all occupy ourselves waiting to see whether he’ll be back in action Sunday.

They’re really playing with our hearts, these rumor-milling league sources. Any more of this, and we’re almost starting to appreciate Stonewall Bellichick’s aversion to “likelihoods” in favor of a “he’s not cleared to play until he’s cleared to play,” approach. Almost.