It’s not looking good for the New England Patriots and their All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, as they are now faced with a very realistic chance they’ll open the 2013 season without his services.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Gronkowski will be having his fourth arm surgery soon, likely on Monday, after having had X-rays taken on Wednesday as a precursor to surgery, and the Pat did expect Gronk to be ready for training camp.
Now comes word that Gronk is dealing with a back injury and recently underwent an MRI on his back to check on a disc issue he had dating back to last season, according to USA Today Sports. IT isn’t however the same back issue that caused him to slip to the second-round of the 2009 NFL Draft, and he still could be ready for opening day:
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the Patriots’ policy of not publicly detailing injuries, said the issue is with a different disc than the one that needed to be shaved down in via surgery 2009 and that a final decision on whether surgery will be required has not yet been made. The person said Gronkowski will see noted spine specialist Robert Watkins in the near future, after next week’s surgery to install a new plate into his forearm.
The person said the hope is, if surgery on his back is required, Gronkowski will be back within the same time frame as his recovery from the arm injury, which he initially suffered in November but has been prolonged because of an infection in the limb.
The Patriots must take the field with or without Gronk in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills on September 8th, but he’ll almost certainly be ready for the week 5 trip to Cincinnati to face the Bengals.