Monday, December 9, 2013

Gronkowski's teammates distraught over injury


New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is at the very top of his class when healthy.

Unfortunately for Gronk, the "healthy" part has been quite the hurdle of late.

Gronkowski, who had seemingly been back to his old self since returning to the lineup in Week 7 after multiple surgeries to multiple ailments from the prior season, sustained what is believed to be a season-ending ACL injury in the Patriots' victory over the Cleveland Browns Sunday.

Multiple media outlets reported after the game that the team believes Gronkowski tore his ACL, and Gronkowski's teammates weren't upbeat when speaking of his condition.

"My heart and my prayers are with him," Patriots running back Shane Vereen said after the game, via "It’s tough to see, not just a teammate but a good friend, go through the things that he has gone through.

"He wants to be out here just as much, if not more, than anybody else. He truly loves the game of football and to see him take a shot and go down, it kind of kills us a little bit. But we know he’ll be back. He's a fighter."

Fellow Patriots tight end Matthew Mulligan, who also said he was "praying for" Gronkowski, noted the mood change on the field after Gronkowksi's injury not only from his teammates, but from the opposition.

"That was a lot of respect that Cleveland paid there too," Mulligan said. "When you have a good player like him, and you know all the struggles that he’s gone through already, to have something like that, I think it is catastrophic and everybody feels it."

If Gronkowski is in fact lost for the season, or any extended period of time, it's a severe blow to a team vying for a first-round bye and precious home field advantage through the playoffs. If any quarterback-coach duo is capable of getting the job done without its best pass-catcher, it's Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Still, the loss is a tough one, to say the least.

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