New England Patriots star TE Rob Gronkowski has been through an awful lot ever since first breaking his arm last season in November against the Indianapolis Colts. Gronkowski broke his arm again a couple of months later, because apparently having him undergo surgery to get him back sooner was a bad idea (warning: some understatement in there). Regardless of whose fault it was, Gronk had an infection, needed more arm surgeries, and he needed back surgery as well. It certainly wasn’t a fun offseason for Gronk, and he still hasn’t been able to return to the playing field. Gronk was initially expected to come back in Week 3, then the timeline was pushed to Week 6. Now, he is considered “questionable” for Week 7 against the New York Jets and will most likely play against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8 if he misses next week’s game against the Jets.
It’s one crazy injury saga regarding Rob Gronkowski, and some fans and, reportedly, some players are frustrated that Gronkowski still hasn’t returned to the gridiron. He’s been doing well at practice, but people need to understand a few things. Not only does Gronk know more about his injury and how he feels than anyone else, but there is also a huge difference between playing in a game and practicing. There’s no sense in rushing Rob Gronkowski back yet again, because there are legitimate concerns on both sides regarding the long-term stability of his arm. The Patriots know that they need him more once we get deeper into the regular season, and it’s vital for everyone to be 110% sure that Gronkowski can hold up long-term. That requires a lot of rest. So while Gronk is healthy enough to play, he may or may not be healthy enough to “hold up”.
The Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian caught up with his mom Diane, who said that her son is “dying to play” and that people going against Gronk don’t “know the whole story”.
“The same people who criticize him for not coming back are the same people who say he came back too soon last time,” she said. “It is what it is. Rob is the only one who can make this decision. Anybody else who has a comment to make positively or negatively aren’t Rob. They aren’t in his shoes. They didn’t go through the surgeries that he went through.
“When they go through four arm surgeries, a back surgery, and a foot surgery in a year and a half, then they can make the comments. After the third (forearm) surgery, Robbie said, ‘I’m never doing this again.’ And weeks later, he’s back in for the fourth one. So he doesn’t want to go back where he was and start all over again. It wasn’t fun. It was so discouraging.”
Do I spot a Belichickian, “It is what it is” quote? Yes, I do.
I can honestly understand why people would be frustrated with Rob Gronkowski, but I think Gronk is doing the right thing here. A third party doctor in Dr. James Andrews isn’t comfortable enough with making the call for Gronk to play, and I don’t blame Gronk for being cautious with deciding to play. That said, I will be a little worried if he isn’t back by Week 8, because that indicates that either the long-term issues are worse than we thought, or there is a severe mental roadblock in Gronk’s head. Meaning, he’s afraid of getting injured again, and that’s something we can’t give him crap for. Wouldn’t you be leery about returning from multiple arm surgeries and the threat of permanently damaging your arm? There are a lot of variables at stake here, and I’m fine with Andrews making the call.
As for the comments from Gronk’s mom, sometimes it’s difficult to buy what a family member is saying. Like, really difficult. But in this case, I buy it at this point.