Sunday, April 7, 2013

ForearmGate IV: Gronk's naggy injury still a concern


Like a cheesy horror-flick villain that survives electrocution, drowning and gunshots, tight end Rob Gronkowski’s infected forearm just won’t quit.

Despite telling ESPN last week that he was “doing a lot better” of late, the New England Patriots’ top offensive weapon is still struggling with rehab on his broken arm. (photo: Jack Newton, Flickr)

Now, his latest round of antibiotics looks to have been ineffective, and the former Pro Bowler is reportedly yet again going under the knife.

According to Ron Borges and Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital will soon remove the plate that was installed in Gronk’s forearm to check for any tissue infection around the surgery site.

This will be the fourth surgery that Gronkowski has had on the arm since the initial injury back in Week 11 of last season. Borges and Guregian reported that if doctors find any lingering infection around the site during this procedure, the new plate will not be able to be placed until it can be eradicated, which could ultimately affect Gronk’s timeline for return.

Though New England currently has more than enough tight ends on the roster, a Gronkowski setback could really affect the team’s game plan going forward. Aaron Hernandez’s health status hasn’t been the most reliable the past couple years, and Jake Ballard’s health and extended time off the field also raises questions. 

Ballard spent all of last year on IR with a knee injury. New England is hoping that he can eventually be a stand-in for Gronkowski both in the passing game and the rushing attack, as the former Giant pulled in more than 600 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns in 2011 before his injury. The team's other two tight ends — Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui — combined for nearly 200 yards last season on nine receptions.

So the good news for Gronk and the Patriots is that the tight end should have ample time to recoup from this latest procedure if no infection is found. The bad news is that regardless of the outcome, this isn’t the last we’ve heard about the tight end’s finicky forearm.

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