The idea that Rob Gronkowski is mostly ready to play and that the Patriots are just waiting until he’s perfect has just taken a hit.
While most reports about the New England tight end have indicated that he’s just working his way back to playing speed after an offseason filled with forearm and back surgeries, WEEI.com now reports that Gronkowski may actually be dealing with the lingering effects of one of those surgeries — effects that may have disappeared a long time ago if Gronkowski hadn’t returned to play last season.
Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com reports that the Patriots, who had a team surgeon insert a plate in Gronkowski’s arm after he first injured it last November, may have damaged Gronkowski’s arm for even longer with the move, which was decided on as the Patriots and Gronkowski looked to get the tight end back in play sooner.
The November injury would have likely healed on its own without surgery, according to the report. After the plate was put in, though, Gronkowski came back and injured himself again in the playoffs in early 2013. He has dealt with complications since, and those complications could continue, with the arm at a worse state than before.
“There is ‘serious concern’ about the integrity of the bone where the implement was placed and the surrounding nerves,” Petraglia reports, citing a team source. “The source indicated that if the bone had healed on its own without an implement, there might have been no infection. However, there are now concerns that an abscess developed, causing infection and likely weakening the bone. This prompted three more surgeries in the offseason on the forearm, separate from the procedure on his back.”
The Gronkowski family has become concerned about the number of surgeries and the amount of time it has taken Gronkowski to come back, according to the report. They’ve advised Gronkowski to hold off on returning to play until he’s sure he’s fully healed. The Patriots expected Gronkowski to be back as early as Week 3.
Dr. James Andrews was brought in this week to look at Gronkowski’s injury.