Saints not sure if Patriots TE Gronkowski will play Sunday

The Saints may or may not know by Friday if they might see New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski when the two teams meet on Sunday in Gillette Stadium.

Gronkowski hasn’t played this season because of arm and back issues and if coach Bill Belichick knows when he’s finally going to play, he’s not telling.

During his daily news conference Wednesday, Belichick told reporters three times that Gronkowski, who’s been practicing on a limited basis, is “day-to-day.”

Later, when asked how Gronkowski looked last week in practice, Belichick simply said, “He practiced.”

When a reporter started another question by saying, “Did he look like …” Belichick cut to the chase and said, “He practiced.”

PREPARING FOR GRONK: The Saints will certainly be ready if Gronkowksi, who has caught 187 passes and 38 touchdowns in just 43 games — including 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and 17 TDs in 2011 — is active Sunday.

“I think you go through the process as if he is playing,” Saints coach Sean Payton said after Wednesday’s practice. “You discuss jersey numbers, and when you are running practice plays, you try to prepare for what you have seen when he played and not be surprised if he is (active).

“Sometimes, if it is an interior lineman, certain positions aren’t as maybe as noticeable where you’re trying to match up certain personnel,” he added. “But with a player like him it is pretty significant.”

RING OF HONOR: The Saints announced Wednesday the formation of a Ring of Honor that will recognize former players, administrators and individuals who have played a significant role on and off the field.

According to the team, the Ring of Honor will be displayed prominently on the fascia of the Terrace level in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The first three members will be unveiled Nov. 10 before the game against the Dallas Cowboys on NBC’s Sunday Night Football with a special ceremony following at halftime.

“We, as an organization, have given thoughtful consideration in an effort to properly honor the contributions of the many great people that have proudly represented the New Orleans Saints,” said owner Tom Benson.

The selection committee is made up of team ownership, front office administrators, team historian, former players and select media members.

PRACTICE REPORT: Not participating in Wednesday’s practice for the Saints were SS Roman Harper (knee), WR Lance Moore (hand), T Zach Strief (ankle) and DE Tyrunn Walker (knee).

Working on a limited basis were RB Mark Ingram (toe), NT Brodrick Bunkley (calf), FS Malcolm Jenkins (neck), CB Keenan Lewis (knee) and LB Ramon Humber (calf).

RIDLEY, BOLDEN LIMITED: For the Patriots, running backs Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden — were among 11 players listed as having limited participation by Belichick.

Ridley, the former LSU standout, and Bolden, a former Scotlandville High star, both have knee problems. Gronkowski, WR Danny Amendola (groin), LB Dont’a Hightower (knee) and LB Jerod Mayo (ankle) were also limited.

RB Leon Washington (ankle), DL Tommy Kelly (knee) and DL Michael Buchanan (not injury related) missed practice.

TWICE AROUND: When the Saints rolled out of Soldier Field following a 26-18 victory against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, their first win there in four tries under Payton, they did it in style.

Before getting on the expressway for the trip to the airport, Payton, who grew up in the Chicago area, instructed the bus drivers to circle the historic stadium twice as sullen Bears’ fans looked on.

“It was two laps,” fullback Jed Collins said Wednesday. “It was Coach Payton’s way of showing the team how big that game was to us … what a big win it was on the road.

“He told us after the game we might do it,” Collins added. “It was a lot of fun. But the second time around, it got a little hostile.”

BREES NOMINATED AGAIN: For the fourth time this season, Drew Brees is one of the nominees for the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week award.

Brees, who won the award last week for his performance in a Week 4 win against the Miami Dolphins, is vying with Denver’s Peyton Manning and Dallas’ Tony Romo.

Fans can vote until Friday at www.NFL.com with the winner to be announced later that day.