Tom Brady would no doubt welcome the return of Rob Gronkowski. (Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters)

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, sidelined since Nov. 18 with a broken left forearm, will try to practice this week, the Boston Globe reported.

(Charles Krupa / AP)

The Patriots, coming off a Monday night victory over the Houston Texans, play the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.

Gronkowski broke his left forearm on an extra-point attempt as the Patriots were crushing the Indianapolis Colts, 59-24. Gronk had caught seven passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Coach Bill Belichick was forced to explain why Gronkowski was in on an extra point in a blowout.

“You only have so many players. You only dress so many players,” he said on WEEI Radio’s “Big Show.” ”Somebody’s got to play. I think you’ve got to be careful when you’re trying to run a team, to go up to one guy and say, ‘Michael, we’re going to leave you in the game because we care about you, but Glenn, we’re going to take you out because you’re really important. You other guys go in there because if something happens to you, we don’t really care.’

“Again, I think football players play football. I don’t know how — you tell me which guy is going to get hurt and I’ll get him out of there. I don’t know how you do that.”

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