More Surgeries for Gronkowski
Tight end Rob Gronkowski will undergo his fourth arm surgery within the next week or so, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The surgery will replace the plate in his forearm, as long as the infection that bothered Gronkowski is gone.
On top of that, Gronk had an MRI this past week on his back for a disc issue that’s been bothering him since last season. It is unclear if he needs surgery on the disc at this point. If he does, the surgery will take place during his recovery from his forearm surgery.
Gronkowski slipped to the second round in 2010 mainly because of back concerns at the University of Arizona. In fact, the 265-pound tight end missed his entire senior year because of it. The disc issue is said to be unrelated to the previous back issue.
The fourth and possibly fifth surgery raise some concerns about Gronkowski’s short and long-term health. If Gronkowski is able to recover fully with no setbacks, he should be ready for training camp. The most likely scenario is Gronkowski starting camp on the physically unable to perform list.
If Gronkowski is unable to start the regular season, the Patriots do have some in-house options. Daniel Fells, who played sparingly with the team last year, has the most experience at tight end. Jake Ballard, who spent last year on injured reserve for a torn ACL in Superbowl XLVI, could also see some time if healthy.
The Patriots rewarded Gronkowski with a six-year contract extension at the end of the 2011 season. While the $54 million deal made Gronk the highest paid tight end at the time, it was considered a major steal by the Patriots considering his record setting 2011 season.