New England Patriots star TE Rob Gronkowski was expected to make his 2013 debut in Week 3, but he still hasn’t returned to the field. At first glance, it looked like Gronkowski and the Patriots wanted to hold him out until he was beyond-all-doubts healthy, especially since the Patriots need him more for the stretch of the season. That’s still the case, but there’s a reason why both the Patriots and Rob Gronkowski are being so cautious.
According to multiple sources close to WEEI’s Mike Petraglia, that Gronkowski’s arm would have healed fully without any surgery needed following the first break (occurred against the Indianapolis Colts in November of last season). However, both the Patriots and Rob Gronkowski wanted to try and find a way for him to return as quickly as possible, so Pats doctor Thomas Gill performed surgery on Gronk and added an implement. The rest is history. Gronk breaks his arm again in the playoffs, gets an infection, and he’s still on the shelf.
But the reason why he still isn’t playing? The surgery. Had the Patriots decided not to perform surgery on Gronkowski, then the bone would have perfectly healed and we wouldn’t be in this mess. Per a source close to Petraglia, there is “serious concern” over the “integrity of the bone” and the “surrounding nerves” near the implement, and everyone wants to know whether or not Gronk’s arm is fine long-term.
The infections near Gronks’ implement were what led his family to initially be concerned, and this incident does not reflect well on Thomas Gill or on the New England Patriots organization. What we still need to figure out is how much Gronk was on board to undergo surgery, and if Gill tried to convince either party not to. Gill should have been wise enough to know that an unnecessary surgery would weaken the bone and affect the nerves, and Rob Gronkowski has every reason not to trust Gill or the Patriots right now. I sure as heck wouldn’t after this debacle.
Gill has been in trouble before, as the NFLPA recently filed a grievance against him before withdrawing it. He’s the same doctor who was, thankfully, fired by the Boston Red Sox for mis-manging star outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s injury, and he may have screwed over Jonathan Fanene (which is why the suit was brought in the first place).
Let’s just hope Rob Gronkowski is okay long-term, and I’m glad Dr. James Andrews is making the call. I don’t trust the Patriots to make the right decision right now, because I don’t trust Thomas Gill to make the right decision, even if Bill Belichick has praised him effusively in the past.