New England Patriots superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski is one of the luckiest players in the league when it comes to injury, and he’s dealt with three injuries of concern already in his career. First, Gronk had to deal with nagging back injuries, and he needed surgery on his back this past offseason, too. Then, Gronk broke his arm last year in November, and both he and the Patriots agreed to have surgery done in order to get him back on the field as quickly as possible. But this decision weakened his arm, and he broke it again in the divisional round of the playoffs. A pesky infection and two additional surgeries meant that Gronk would miss the first six weeks of the 2013 season.
That sounds like more than enough injuries and concerns over a short time frame for the star TE, but tore his ACL and MCL in Week 14 against the Cleveland Browns after absorbing a hard, but clean, hit from Browns star strong safety T.J. Ward. The injury looked awful at first glance, and Gronk had to be carted off the field (he was seen forgiving Ward, which was a touching display of sportsmanship).
Gronk is so important to the Patriots offense as a pass-catcher, blocker, and piece in the offense to open up everyone else that the injury could have very well been a season-killer. Credit the Patriots resilience, Tom Brady’s and Bill Belichick’s greatness, and depth as reasons why the Patriots are still a force to be reckoned with despite a myriad of major injuries this season, and no team has been hit harder by them- and no Patriots player more than Gronk.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Dr. James Andrews will perform surgery on Rob Gronkowski on Thursday in order to repair his ACL and MCL, and he should be ready to start the 2014 season. We won’t be able to get a good idea of how far Gronk is in his recovery until the spring, so stay tuned.