Sports

Reports: Rob Gronkowski closer to being cleared

Rob Gronkowski

Jonathan.Wiggs/Globe Staff/File

Rob Gronkowski

Help could be coming to the Patriots in the form of injured Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Gronkowski, out since last season, is expected to be cleared to play in Sunday’s game vs. the New Orleans Saints, a source told ProFootballTalk.com and USA Today.

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Pro Football Talk’s report said it is not definite that Gronkowski will play. The Patriots have not commented on the report.

When Gronkowski returns, it’s likely he’ll be eased back into the rotation of the Patriots offense.

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Gronkowski has missed the first five weeks of the season after an offseason in which he underwent surgeries for a broken arm and a back injury. An infection in the arm delayed his back surgery.

The Patriots have kept Gronkowski on the active roster, which allowed him to practice with the team since the start of the season.

Last week, reports surfaced of conflict between the Patriots and members of Gronkowski’s inner circle, including his father, about his availability.

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But Gronkowski dismissed the idea of a conflict with the team on whether he’s being pressured to come back too quickly.

“No, no doubt; no, not at all,” he said about being pressured. “Everything is great around here.”

Gronkowski’s would return would be a boost for the Patriots’ sagging offense, which was humbled in a 13-6 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday.

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