The New England Patriots' injury report for Sunday's matchup with the New York Jets came out and there was one big surprise... and for once, it was a nice surprise. Rob Gronkowski is listed as 'questionable' as he has been for most of the season but the difference is this week, Gronk has been officially cleared by all his doctors to play on Sunday.
This good news comes on the heels of an injury-riddled week six against the New Orleans Saints where the Pats lost defensive standouts Jerod Mayo for the season and Aqib Talib is out for at least his week, maybe more. Vince Wilfork suffered an season-ending injury in week four so honestly, the New England defense can't really handle too many more injuries. They'll need to start pulling guys off the street to play.
Gronkowski will be a welcome target for Tom Brady, especially with Danny Amendola out with a concussion and a banged up Julian Edelman. In his last full season in 2011, Gronk scored 17 touchdowns—setting a new mark for the most by a tight end. That same season he amassed over 1,300 total yards on 90 catches. THIS is the Rob Gronkowski we have come to know and love. THIS is the Rob Gronkowski that I desperately hope will make an appearance at some point this year.
I've been extremely pleased with the play of both rookies, Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, and Gronk's return will only make them better, taking the pressure off and hopefully allowing them to get more open for Brady. At least that's what I'm hoping happens. I'll be happy if Gronk just gets out there and disrupts things, but never touches the ball.
But right now, I can't really think too much about the Patriots and Jets which is a whole day away... I need to GET MY BEARD ON for game six of the ALCS tonight! GO SOX!!