New England Patriots star Tom Brady has denied rumours that Rob Gronkowski's injury is causing tension to rise within the squad.
Gronkowski missed his sixth game on Sunday following a number of surgeries on his left forearm, which was fractured.
There were growing rumours that there had been disagreements between Patriots' management team and the player over his readiness to make a return to action.
A source was quoted on ESPN earlier this week: "There's curiosity and resentment, and he's creating it by going out and kicking ass during the week and then he doesn't show up on game day and help the team win."
However, Brady has dismissed the claims and says that he and the team are just looking forward to having Gronkowski back on the field.
He told Westwood One Sports: "Look, everyone loves having Rob out on the field, but we also understand that these medical decisions are out of the hands of the players and coaches. And if the doctors, when they clear them, they clear them, and when they don't, they don't. That goes for every player in the NFL. It's not just our team, it's every team.
"So we'll be excited to get him back. When that is, I don't have the answer, but I prepare each week regardless of who's out there. You got to go with the guys that are healthy and the guys who are ready to play.
"And look, we've had plenty of guys contribute to get to 5-1 at this point. So I have a lot of confidence in the guys I'm out there with. I'll be as excited as anybody when Rob gets back, and I know he's working his butt off to get back out on the field as soon as he can."
Gronkowski has been back in practice with the Patriots since the beginning of last week and was marked as questionable before Sunday's 30-27 win over the New Orleans Saints.
He was ultimately left out of the team but is expected to make his return presently.