Rob Gronkowski: Is His Season Over?

The New England Patriots season may be over before training camp begins.  Rob Gronkowski, tight end, and the best receiver left in their arsenal, may be ineffective for the 2013 season, or not play at all.

The Patriots lost Wes Welker to free agency, and led the team in receptions.  Now they may be without their leading scorer in “Gronk”.

Monday, he will undergo the 4th surgery on his forearm.  He continues to suffer from infection in the now thrice operated appendage.

In addition, persistent back pain is forcing the medical staff to consider surgery on another part of his anatomy.

Tomorrow’s surgery will be performed by Dr. Jesse Jupiter. According to MGH’s website, Jupiter specializes in the care of traumatic and reconstructive problems of the upper limbs, including fracture healing and failure to heal. Dr. Thomas Gill, the Patriots head team physician, is also expected to be on hand.

Cultures will be taken from the injured area.  If the cultures, which will be re-examined in a week, continue to grow, Gronk’s situation will be re-evaluated.  If all goes well, a new plate will eventually replace the one that’s been holding the broken bone in the forearm in place, and Gronk will start out on his 10-11 week recovery phase.

Doctors say that this disk injury is not related to the disk problem that required a procedure in 2009.

Gronkowski originally broke his arm Nov. 18 in a game against the Indianapolis Colts. He returned to action Dec. 30 in the regular-season finale but broke the forearm again in the AFC divisional round on Jan. 13 against the Houston Texans.

Many questions will be asked, and medical science will not readily have all the answers.

If the forearm surgery is successful, what will happen if he takes a direct hit on the often operated arm.  If he undergoes back surgery, will he be able to endure a hit by a 250+ pound linebacker, running at full speed?  And the final and most honest question is, “is Gronk’s career over”?

My coaches used to say that “basketball is a contact sport, football is a collision sport”.  For me that was the most accurate assessment to this day.

For the Patriots, the bottom line is that their receiving corps is very questionable. They attempted to replace Welker with Danny Amendola, who they received from the St. Louis Rams.  I wish them well, but Amendola’s career has been riddled with injury problems, and his talent is not in the same ‘time zone’ as is Welker’s.

If Gronk is unable to play effectively, New England, which depends on the passing of Tom Brady to set up their running game, may be in for a very difficult season.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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