BOSTON (CBS) – Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to make his return on Sunday, according to a report.

It’s been a weekly discussion on whether or not Gronkowski would return since the team chose not to place him on the PUP list prior to the season, but it looks like those debates will come to an end Sunday when the Patriots host the New Orleans Saints, according to Pro Football Talk.

Gronkowski has missed the first five weeks of the season as he recovers from off-season back surgery, but is expected to be cleared this week, the report states.

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The tight end led the Patriots with 11 touchdown receptions in 2012 despite missing five games with a broken forearm. He returned for the final week of the regular season, but re-broke the arm in New England’s playoff win over the Houston Texans. Gronk had a rough off-season, which required multiple surgeries on the arm in addition to the back surgery he underwent.

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The Patriots’ offense could certainty use Gronkowski back in the lineup after not scoring a touchdown in their Week 4 loss to the Cincinatti Bengals. Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan are the only active tight ends on the roster, and have totaled just five catches so far this season.

It’s unclear how much Gronkowski will play in his return, as he hasn’t hit the field in game action since last January. But the Patriots will welcome his presence on the field, and the double-teams he usually commands from opposing defenses.



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