NEPD Staff Writer: Tony Santorsa
The 2013 season for Rob Gronkowski continues to get worrisome by the week.
With reports indicating that Gronk will be requiring a fourth surgery on his forearm in the upcoming week, Mike Garafolo of USA Today is reporting that New England’s All Pro tight end might be dealing with a back problem.
The New England Patriots’ tight end recently underwent an MRI on his back to check on a disc issue he had dating back to last season, a person informed of Gronkowski’s medical status told USA TODAY Sports…
…The person said the hope is, if surgery on his back is required, Gronkowski will be back within the same time frame as his recovery from the arm injury.
According to Garafolo’s report, Gronkowski will be meeting with spine specialist Robert Watkins in the upcoming weeks to determine what the necessary steps are needed for his potential disc issue.
Gronkowski appeared in 11 games this past season with the Patriots as he recorded 55 receptions for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Michael Hoomanawanui, Daniel Fells, Jake Ballard and recent UDFA Zach Sudfeld may be looked on to fill Gronkowski’s shoes in 2013 – a formidable task to be sure.
Where he will be missed most is in his blocking – none of the other tight ends on the roster offer the Patriots offense the same crushing blocking ability – an ability that keeps some defenses from substituting into their nickel defenses.
The Patriots offense has shown the ability to change rapidly to incorporate new parts or cover up missing ones – that might be tested early this year.