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Tommy Kelly, Leon Washington ruled out for Saints game

10.11.13 at 3:59 pm ET
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Defensive lineman Tommy Kelly and running back Leon Washington were ruled out by the Patriots Friday for Sunday’s game against the Saints. Kelly appeared to injure his knee in the second half of last Sunday’s loss to the Bengals, while Washington has been plagued by injuries for a sizable portion of the season — an ankle issue kept him out of practice all week.

As for the rest of the list, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Stevan Ridley were among the seven players listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Gronkowski hasn’t played this season because of forearm and back issues, while Ridley sat out last week’s game with a knee issue that left him limited over the course of the week.

Here’s the complete list:

Did Not Practice
DL Tommy Kelly (knee) OUT
RB Leon Washington (ankle) OUT

Limited Participation
WR Danny Amendola (groin) QUESTIONABLE
RB Brandon Bolden (knee) QUESTIONABLE
TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm) QUESTIONABLE
RB Stevan Ridley (knee) QUESTIONABLE
ST Matthew Slater (wrist) QUESTIONABLE
OL Ryan Wendell (concussion) QUESTIONABLE
DB Tavon Wilson (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE

Full Participation
WR Aaron Dobson (neck) PROBABLE
LB Dont’€™a Hightower (knee) QUESTIONABLE
LB Jerod Mayo (ankle) PROBABLE
DL Rob Ninkovich (groin) PROBABLE

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Peter King on M&M: If Rob Gronkowski remains out for Patriots, ‘I don’t know that they can make the playoffs’

10.11.13 at 1:48 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Patriots and the Rob Gronkowski situation as well as other NFL news, incuding the controversy over the Redskins nickname.

With the latest report that Gronkowski still is having concerns about his surgically repaired right forearm, there is speculation that the tight end’s return to game action might be delayed some more. King said this could prove to be the Patriots’ undoing.

“Rob Gronkowski only has X number of snaps left in his body the rest of his career,” King said. “Obviously, everybody does. But I think he has a limited number of snaps in his body. He came into the league an injury question, and he has continued to be an injury question. Even though he’s played an awful lot, you’re always wondering is he going to break his forearm, is he going to have some neck problem or back problem, whatever?”

Added King: “At some point, he’s got to start playing or else we aren’t even going to be talking about eking into the playoffs, even as a fifth or sixth seed. I’m not positive about that, because you look at their schedule and it’s certainly possible. But I don’t know, if they have a gimpy [Danny] Amendola, and Gronkowski doesn’t play this year, I don’t know that they can make the playoffs. Even though, as I said, they have a manageable schedule.”

King said Belichick has to consider the risk of playing Gronkowski, especially with the Patriots coming off a loss and struggling to keep up with the top teams in the AFC.

“The only thing that’s going to matter to Bill Belichick, the only thing that matters to these fans is, what’s going to happen now?” King said. “To me, without Rob Gronkowski this week, unless they force two or three turnovers of the Saints, I don’t like their chances at all.

“To me, I think they’re facing a team that, like Denver — they’re kind of Denver Jr. right now. They’re not scoring at the pace Denver scores, but they’ve proven, outside, inside, wherever, that they can play defense now. So you’re going to have to get into a bit of a scoring contest with Drew Brees. And with what appeared to me to be last week Danny Amendola not at 100 percent, and obviously [Tom] Brady still getting comfortable with his guys, without Gronkowski I think it’s going to be a very tough game for them to win.”

King said he suspects Brady is frustrated with the organization’s inability to provide him with the receivers needed to be more competitive.

“Just reading the tea leaves and knowing Tom, last year — last whatever it was, February or March — he did — even though a lot of people subjected this to much derision — he did the Patriots a huge favor. He redid his contract to give them massive cap relief over the next couple of years, and clearly thought that they were going to have better weapons than they have now,” King said. “I haven’t gone back and looked, but I have to believe that over the first five weeks of the season, that as a crew this has to be the worst weaponry Brady has had since he’s become the starting quarterback of the team.

“It may turn out to be not that way. Kenbrell Thompkins might turn out to be a really good weapon; he looked like he was going to be that way in camp. But obviously, Brady thought that there was going to be more help, the cavalry was going to arrive. It hasn’t.

“I would only assume — and it’s an assumption, it’s no knowledge — I would only assume that he’s got to be very frustrated not only with the process of Gronkowski’s health but with the fact that he gave them this massive salary cap relief and he’s playing with a group of guys that clearly don’t compare to most of the teams he’s going to play against this year.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Peter King, redskins, Rob Gronkowski

Bill Belichick on Patriots medical staff: ‘We have confidence in all of them’

10.11.13 at 12:01 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick gave a literal vote of confidence to team medical director Dr. Tom Gill in wake of Thursday night’s WEEI.com report that there was “serious concern” over his treatment and procedures on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Belichick was asked if, in light of the report, he had any concern with work of the team’s medical director?

“I think I’ve already talked about that,” Belichick said. “As it relates to our medical people, we have confidence in all of them and they do a good job.”

The situation Belichick was referring to was his defense of Dr. Gill early in training camp in July when the NFLPA reportedly pressured the Patriots to relieve Gill of duties in wake of the Jonathan Fanene case.

‘€œI feel like we have a lot of players who worked really hard that are obviously in really good condition, that worked hard in this last month to really be ready to go for training camp,’€ Belichick said, describing the overall physical condition of his team entering camp. ‘€œWe had a number of guys that were working through various injury situations in the spring but Dr. Gill and [trainer] Jim Whalen and their respective staffs have done an excellent job bringing those guys around. Looks like those players have made a lot of progress. They won’€™t all be out there but they’€™re getting close, and that’€™s encouraging as well.’€

New England released Fanene in August 2012 for ‘€œfailure to disclose physical condition’€ and tried to recover what it could of the player’s $3.85 million signing bonus. Belichick and Gill both testified against Fanene during a hearing.

ESPN Boston and the NFL Network cited multiple sources in reporting that the grievance against Gill, filed in the summer, was a legal counter-punch, coming from the original grievance filed by the Patriots against Fanene. On Sept. 22, ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss reported a settlement had been reached after the NFLPA dropped its grievance.

In preparing for Fanene’€™s hearing, two sources told ESPNBoston.com that the NFLPA discovered information it believes may show Gill wasn’€™t acting in the best interest of Fanene. The information, according to ESPNBoston sources, was an email correspondence with Patriots executives.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jonathan Fanene, New England Patriots, nfl

Patriots practice Friday: Tommy Kelly, Leon Washington missing third straight day

10.11.13 at 11:39 am ET
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FOXBORO — Tommy Kelly and Leon Washington missed their third straight practice on Friday while linebacker Jamie Collins returned as the Patriots worked out in sweats and shells on the upper grass fields outside Gillette Stadium.

Kelly left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter holding his right knee and limped off the field. Washington suffered an ankle injury and was replaced by Devin McCourty in the kick return game. With both missing their third straight practice, it’s unlikely either player will suit up for Sunday’s game against the Saints.

On Wednesday, in an effort to add depth along the defensive line, which is already without Vince Wilfork for the rest of the season, the team signed former Panthers defensive tackle Andre Neblett. Neblett has been at practice all three days and could make his debut on Sunday.

As for Rob Gronkowski, Adam Schefter reports that Dr. James Andrews has not signed off on allowing the tight end to return. Gronkowski was on the practice field again on Friday but practice was closed to the media immediately following stretching.

Read More: Gronk, Leon Washington, New England Patriots, new orleans saints

Video: ‘4th and Goal’ previews Patriots-Saints

10.11.13 at 9:30 am ET
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WEEI.com’s Chris Price previews the Week 6 matchup between the Patriots and Saints. Find out the keys to the game as well as Chris’ prediction on the final score.

Fantasy Football: Week 6 starts, sits

10.11.13 at 9:08 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 6 starts and sits. I’€™ve tried to vary the level of options to give people in all league sizes something to chew on. If you are looking for more comprehensive rankings, go to Rotobahn.com, where we rank them all every week and update the rankings every weekend. Jim Hackett and I will be doing our weekly podcast later Friday and we’€™ll cover these starts and sits in depth. Check it out. You can find it in our audio on demand area. I’€™ll also be back Sunday, as usual, to answer all of your lineup questions in our Sunday morning chat sponsored by our friends at Mohegan Sun.

QUARTERBACKS

STARTS

Andy Dalton, Bengals at Bills

There are better options out there, obviously, but Dalton should do well this week against a Bills squad that is beat up on the back end. He’€™s got weapons all around him and a solid ground game to work off of.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Jets

The Steelers are looking better than they did a few weeks back and they get a Jets team that may be down a few cornerbacks. This bodes well for Big Ben and his receivers. He’€™s a good play in most formats.

Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Raiders

If you are looking for help this week, Smith can step in for you. A big game may not be in the cards, but a solid effort seems to be something you can count on from Smith and Andy Reid‘€™s offense.

Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Packers

There will be plenty of points in this game, and Flacco will need to attack the Pack downfield. Ray Rice‘€™s major contributions likely will be in the passing game, and that helps Flacco. He’€™s a decent play if you are in need.

SITS

Matt Schaub, Texans vs. Rams

He’€™s risky, as he could have a short leash this week in a home game in front of potentially hostile fans. He’€™s playable if you are stuck with him, but this is definitely a week to consider other options. Schaub may not get a chance to finish if he starts poorly.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals at 49ers

It’€™s a bad matchup, and Palmer has really been struggling lately. He may post some garbage-time numbers, but the 49ers usually are pretty good at playing hard for 60 minutes. I’€™d avoid Palmer this week. This offense has a lot of upside, but this is not the week to roll the dice with it.

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Read More: Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer

Source: ‘Serious concern’ over Tom Gill surgery on Rob Gronkowski

10.10.13 at 11:01 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski may or may not play this weekend against the Saints. But the Patriots had expected him to play much sooner, a league source told WEEI.com.

The Patriots thought the Pro Bowl tight end would make his debut as soon as Week 3 against Tampa Bay.

However, Gronkowski did not make his debut on Sept. 22, and has yet to step on the field for his first snap of game action. The reason: concern over the stability of his surgically repaired left forearm after a procedure performed by Patriots doctor Tom Gill.

While it is common practice for team doctors to perform on their own athletes, the Gronkowski family became concerned after there were repeated surgeries to treat infections in the area of an implement, or device, that was placed in the forearm to expedite the healing process.

WEEI.com has learned from multiple industry sources that the arm, injured initially on Nov. 18, 2012, against the Colts, might have healed properly on its own with no surgery necessary. But the team and Gronkowski, perhaps looking to hasten his return to the field, decided upon surgery to use an implement in hopes he would be ready for the playoffs.

Gronkowski returned in the 2012 season finale and caught a touchdown pass, but he re-injured the arm two weeks later in a win over the Texans and was unavailable against the Ravens in the AFC championship.

One source with knowledge of the initial forearm surgery told WEEI.com Thursday night that there is “serious concern” about the integrity of the bone where the implement was placed and the surrounding nerves. The source indicated that if the bone had healed on its own without an implement, there might have been no infection. However, there now are concerns that an abscess developed, causing infection and likely weakening the bone. This prompted three more surgeries in the offseason on the forearm, separate from the procedure on his back.

Gronkowski’s family and representatives were made aware of the issues in the arm and advised the tight end to hold off on returning to action until it could be determined that the bone in his right arm had fully healed.

All of this led to the decision this week to bring in noted orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews to sign off on whether Gronkowski is indeed ready to play, taking the decision out of the hands of the Patriots, Gronkowski and Dr. Gill.

The Patriots were hopeful that Gronkowski’s participation in practice in the early part of the season would lead to his return. Gronkowski has officially been listed as limited in all practices this season with the team.

On Thursday, Gronkowski told reporters that “nothing’s changed” in regard to his playing status for Sunday, adding that he’s just going to take it day to day.

Read More: Gordon Gronkowski, Gronk, New England Patriots, nfl
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