It's Week 6 of the 2013 NFL season, and it most likely be the sixth week without Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski . According to the Boston Globe's Ben Volin via a league source, when Gronkowski will make his debut is up to him, because the team has already cleared him to play. But Gronkowski "hasn't received clearance to play by his hand-picked medical team of Dr. James Andrews, who consulted on Gronkowski's last arm surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jesse Jupiter, who performed the surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital," Volin wrote. "Gronkowski's camp has advised the tight end to be cautious and listen to the advice of Andrews...."
On the bright side for the Patriots' offense, running back Stevan Ridley is expected to play after missing one game due to a knee injury. It is not known if he will start versus the Saints or how the carries will be split between him, LeGarrette Blount , and Brandon Bolden .
Gronkowski doesn't need Andrews' clearance to play, but it seems like he won't play without it. We have been expecting Gronk's return for a few weeks now, and we have been denied every time. There's no use in forecasting him anymore; he's basically out indefinitely. Week 7 will be another uncertain week.
And hindsight is always 20-20, but the Patriots made a mistake by not putting Gronkowski on the Physically Unable to Perform list prior to the season, and fantasy owners who spent a third-round pick on him drafted him too high.
The Saints are averaging nearly 5 yards per carry this season, but Ridley is a risky flex play with the Patriots playing three RBs. It's not like Ridley has done anything this season to show that he deserves a large helping of carries.