Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Buffalo-bills-new-england
The Patriots have a decision to make with one of their most valuable players during the next two weeks. Rob Gronkowski has shed his forearm cast and even participated in practice last week. It seems the four-to-six weeks it was expected for him to return from his broken forearm have passed, and he could be set to return in Week 16 — if the team wants him to. The last two games of the season aren’t entirely meaningless. The Patriots could still receive a first-round bye, but it would take some help. The Broncos would need to lose one game to the Browns or Chiefs — both games are in Denver — and the Texans would have to lose to both the Vikings and Colts. Both situations are unlikely. If The Patriots still controlled their own destiny for a first-round bye, we’d likely see Gronkowski take the field on Sunday in Jacksonville. But since New England doesn’t, and they could likely beat the Jaguars and Dolphins without their star player, it may be wise to rest him. The Patriots certainly survived without the NFL’s best tight end the past four weeks. The team has gone 3-1 without him, and only appeared to miss him at all against the 49ers — where he certainly could have helped. If Gronk is fully healthy, it would take another freak injury to re-aggravate a broken forearm, so playing him would hold just as much risk as any other starter, though. Gronkowski likely doesn’t need to get re-acclimated to the offense, but seeing some non-practice activity could help before the playoffs. Keeping Gronkowski out could actually risk Tom Brady‘s health as well. Gronk is by far the best blocking tight end on the roster, and the Patriots have to face pass rush threats Jason Babin and Cameron Wake in consecutive weeks. So what do you think? Should the Patriots continue to hold out Gronkowski until the games are guaranteed to matter, or should they play him to get him back up to speed and to protect his quarterback? Take Our Poll Photo via Facebook/YFantasyMinute
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Hot start helps Rockets stave off elimination against Warriors

Matt Millen leaving ESPN for FOX, Big Ten Network

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout loss to Yankees

John Farrell: Pitchers need an approved gripping substance

Cam Newton: Nobody has ever been who I'm trying to be

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bears cut Ray McDonald after domestic violence arrest

Report: Paul Pierce could opt out of contract, join Clippers

Report: NBA exploring moving start of Finals up

Isaiah Thomas: Danny Ainge wants my input on free agents

Brian Matusz suspended eight games for substance on arm

Baseball players in the military: A tribute

Stephen Curry leaves Game 4 after nasty fall, returns later

WATCH: Khris Davis trolls umps after controversial homer

Is Adrian Peterson leveraging himself out of the league?

Mascot creates controversy with 'Police Lives Matter' sign

The Talented Mr. Blatt

The curious case of Frank Kaminsky

Is the Cavs' Matthew Dellavedova a dirty player?

LeBron lifts Cavaliers to brink of Finals, but are they ready?

Will Phil Jackson give himself a chance to succeed with Knicks?

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

Federer unhappy with security after fan comes on court

WATCH: LeBron throws down ferocious dunk in traffic

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Curry leaves game after nasty fall

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Report: Pierce could opt out of contract

Could the NBA Finals be moved up?

The Talented Mr. Blatt

Is Dellavedova a dirty player?

Ballplayers in the military: A tribute

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

WATCH: LeBron's ferocious dunk in traffic

Kelly drops hint about ND offense

John Madden: Last SB play will 'torment' Carroll

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.