Curran: Gronk's muddy recovery nears end

Curran: Gronk's muddy recovery nears end
October 8, 2013, 4:00 pm
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Does Rob Gronkowski have the green light to play Sunday against the Saints?

A source informed me Tuesday afternoon that, “There’s a lot of moving parts right now. No decision has been made.”
 
Parts have been moving around Gronkowski since last November.
 
But the high-priced tight end has yet to move back onto the field as the Patriots offense muddles along without him.
 
Earlier on Tuesday, Pro Football Talk reported that Gronkowski "is expected to be cleared to play."
 
Noted by PFT was that celebrity orthopedist Dr. James Andrews will be “in charge of the decision-making process.”
 
Talk about moving parts, the decision on whether or not Gronk plays is being made outside the building, it appears.
 
The Gronkowski convalescence has been a clusterfudge to end all clusterfudges.
 
Think about it. First, he broke his left arm on an extra point attempt in a blowout win. That touched off debate as to whether he should have been on the field.
 
Next came debate as to whether he needed reps before the end of the regular season. Gronk played in the season finale against Miami and looked exceedingly nervous about putting the arm in harm’s way.
 
And when the playoffs began, he landed on the arm early in the Patriots win over Houston, breaking the arm again.
 
Immediately, speculation of Gronk returning to the field too quickly flew. But the break wasn’t in the same spot. It actually was at the end of medically inserted plate where the pressure of his impact collected.
 
Either way, it looked bad. And Gronk made it look worse when he was captured on video performing wrestling moves on stage, generally acting like a moron.
 
On it’s own, it was a 24-year-old being a 24-year-old. But this 24-year-old was the owner of a six-year, $53 million extension. And when he developed an infection in the arm it looked even more moronic, though the notion his penchant for public buffoonery was dismissed as contributing the infection.
 
Two more surgeries to clear the infection followed. Then a back surgery. And all the attendant speculation as to whether he’d be back in time for camp or not. When he wasn’t, the countdown to when he’d be able to play began.
 
He started showing up on the practice fields before the first game. His workload increased. He went from doubtful to questionable. He still didn’t play.
 
Reports that the Gronkowski camp -- Gronk’s father Gordy in particular -- had inserted itself into the conversation arose prior to the game in Atlanta . . . a game Gronk didn’t travel for.
 
Those reports were dismissed first by Jonathan Kraft then by Gronkowski last Wednesday. Another game last week in Cincinnati. Another week in which Gronkowski didn’t travel. Another week in which the Patriots clearly missed him.
 
Gronkowski’s gotten a free ride throughout this process. His persona as a lovably clueless oaf has, it seems, insulated him from second-guessing. He’s just the kid in the waiting room playing trucks while the adults argue about his recovery.
 
Apparently, the long process of getting Gronkowski to appear with a helmet on his head and not a Dunkin' Donuts cup in his hand nears its end.
 
The “brand” the Gronkowski “camp” has given great care and feeding to since he emerged as a rookie remains intact through all of this.
 
Ignorance -- or at least the appearance of it -- has allowed Gronkowski to skate through with nary a question about his willingness to play.
 
It’s good to be Gronk. Bad arm, bad back and all.