Report: Rob Gronkowski likely to play for Patriots Sunday

Sounds like we won’t be seeing Rob Gronkowski for another two weeks. (USATSI)
Rob Gronkowski is reportedly set to play in Week 6. (USATSI)

It's taken five weeks -- and a couple weeks longer than expected -- but it appears Rob Gronkowski will return for the Patriots on Sunday against the Saints.

Pro Football Talk reports the tight end is "expected to be cleared this week."

It was believed Gronk might return sooner than Week 6 -- that's part of why the Patriots didn't put him on the PUP list to start the season -- but with the Patriots winning their first four games it made a lot of sense to push him back to a more reasonable timeline. (After he was ruled out of Week 4's game, reports surfaced that Gronk was targeting Week 6.)

That timeline is now, with New England wrapping up a brutal three-game stretch that featured a game in Atlanta (Sunday night, a victory), a game in Cincinnati (an ugly loss last Sunday) and a game at home against the undefeated Saints and record-tracking tight end Jimmy Graham this coming week.

New England's offense appeared to click against the Buccaneers in Week 3 and the Falcons in Week 4 but really struggled last Sunday against the Bengals.

Tom Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since 2010 -- ending his streak at 52-straight games -- and the Pats scored just six points.

Against the high-powered Saints offense that simply won't fly. And New England likely hopes the prescription for their fever is more Gronk.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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