Could Rob Gronkowski make season debut against the Bengals?

Jared Wickerham

One of those stories that rottweilers refuse to break their hold from, will reach Cincinnati next week.

According to ESPN and multiple other outlets, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski did not travel with the team on Saturday and won't play against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday Night. There is a dispute between the Patriots and Gronkowski's camp about whether or not he should play this weekend after undergoing five surgeries in the past year for his forearm and back. New England said he's healthy enough; Gronkowski's camp are shrugging their proverbial shouldersand asking, "what's the rush."

Gronkowski's inner circle would like to ensure that Gronkowsi is fully recovered from his five surgeries in the past year -- four on his forearm, one on his back in June -- before the tight end plays again, according to sources. Their belief is that the Patriots are 3-0 without him, they're playing a non-conference game Sunday night, and there's no need to rush Gronkowski back until the doctors are fully convinced it's OK for him to return.

It asks the question, will Gronkowski wait until week five when the New England Patriots travel to Cincinnati? Theoretically it's a conference game that could have significance with tie-breaker scenarios, ranging from a playoff berth or to seeding -- next weekend could be the difference between the Patriots and Bengals having a first round bye. New England will host the New Orleans Saints in another non-conference game following the Bengals before the Jets and Dolphins in consecutive weeks.

Obviously some time will pass before playoff scenarios are considered. But a week five game between the Patriots and Bengals could have an impact for the postseason, which seems likely for a Gronkowski debut against the Bengals on Oct. 6.

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