Mike Florio](http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/10/11/gronkowski-hasnt-been-cleared-yet/)* of *Pro Football Talk reports that there is now "less optimism" regarding Rob Gronkowski's clearance to return to the playing field. A source with knowledge of the situation says the decision to play will come from Dr. James Andrews, who will rely on scans of the twice-broken forearm.
"This news comes on the heels of an article from WEEI.com regarding concerns over the initial surgery performed by Dr. Tom Gill, the Patriots physician," writes Florio. "Citing unnamed sources, WEEI.com reports that there's a belief the arm would have healed without surgery, but that surgery was conducted to hasten the healing process.
"When Gronkowski returned in January, the arm was broken in a different place, prompting another surgery. Then, an infection arose, resulting in multiple additional procedures."
Jeff Pini of Boston.com reports that Rob Gronkowski has not been cleared to play on Sunday, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.
"It was reported by ESPN on Friday that the Pro Bowl tight end still has not been cleared to play by Dr. James Andrews," notes Pini. "Andrews, the renowned orthopedic surgeon, has been named by the team and Gronkowski as an independent physician responsible for determining whether he is cleared to play."
ESPNBoston.com](http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4750843/espn-bostons-picks-patriots-saints)** experts shared their predictions for Sunday's matchup between the Patriots and Saints. All three - Tedy Bruschi, Mike Reiss and Field Yates - picked the Saints to come out on top.
"Saints coach Sean Payton is a spectacular playcaller. This is the week where the lack of defensive-line depth will be exploited. There is too much for the Patriots to stop. If Rob Gronkowski plays, he will help, but it won't be enough."
Jeff Howe of the* Boston Herald* believes DT Tommy Kelly's status for Sunday is in serious doubt after missing a full week of practice.
"It's extremely rare for a player to miss the entire week of practice and still play in that week's game," adds Howe. "This season, tackle Will Svitek (Week 1), special teams captain Matthew Slater (Weeks 3-4) and running back Stevan Ridley (Week 5) missed their entire run of workouts and were held out of the ensuing game."
Doug Kyed of NESN.com writes that WR Mark Harrison and DT Armond Armstead are eligible to return from the non-football injury/illness list in Week 7, and could provide much needed depth at their respective positions.
"Armstead looks like he's bulked up from the end of the summer," writes Kyed. "He said he was feeling 'all right' on Thursday afternoon."
"Harrison is a Rutgers guy who has an incredible size-speed combination. At 6-foot-3, 231 pounds, Harrison ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February. He had a 6.99-second three-cone drill and 4.33-second 20-yard shuttle.
"Harrison wasn't drafted and got scooped up by the Bears after the draft. They didn't keep him around because of a foot injury, but the Patriots determined he was worthy of a spot on the 90-man roster."