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Why two-week time frame is critical for Gronk's Super Bowl chances

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Patriots, Gronk feel that time is on their side to heal before SB (0:59)

Mike Reiss details why Rob Gronkowski will need to clear a five-step process that will be approved by the Patriots' head team physician and an independent neurological consultant in order to play in the Super Bowl. (0:59)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s recovery from a concussion follows the majority of teammates who had concussions this season, he should be cleared to play in Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 4.

But that comes with an important caveat, as was noted by someone close to the process with Gronkowski: No one can predict how the brain will react to tests, as each situation is unique.

A review of the Patriots’ injury reports this season shows that four players had documented concussions, missed the game after sustaining the concussion, and then returned to action the following week.

That group includes:

There were, however, two situations that didn’t follow such a progression.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore was officially diagnosed with a concussion the day before the team’s Oct. 15 game against the Jets -- which was reportedly a result of a tackle he made on Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans on Oct. 5 -- and missed three straight games: Oct. 15 against the Jets, Oct. 22 against the Falcons and Oct. 29 against the Chargers. Gilmore then had a bye week before returning Nov. 12 against the Broncos.

And linebacker Shea McClellin, who has a history with concussions, had been designated to return off injured reserve Oct. 18. He practiced for multiple weeks but ultimately wasn’t activated to the roster despite the team’s need at the position.

As for Gronkowski, he has been present at Gillette Stadium on each of the five days this week, which is obviously a positive sign. Those close to the situation believe that time is on their side, and if Gronkowski continues to make progress, he has a good chance to be active for Super Bowl LII. One small detail that adds context to where Gronkowsk is in his recovery: He has been driving himself back and forth from the stadium.