Rob Gronkowski Will Have Surgery (Again)

How did the Patriots tight end get to this point? A timeline of events surrounding his injury.

At this point, I’d forgive even Rob Gronkowski for giving in to pessimism. The goofy Patriots tight end, who Sports Illustrated deemed “The Last Happy Man,” has had a rough couple of months. And things don’t appear to be getting any better.

Over the weekend, the Herald reported that Gronkowski’s injured arm isn’t healing correctly. Here’s how Ron Borges and Karen Guregian put it:

Rob Gronkowski has been battling a stubborn infection in the area around where a second metal plate was installed to repair his broken left forearm and his readiness for the season is in jeopardy.

Gronkowski is nearing the end of a six-week cycle of antibiotic treatments administered under the auspices of Massachusetts General Hospital, but it is not yet assured the infection has been completely eradicated.

Doctors treating Gronkowski will have to go back into the arm again to remove the plate and install a new one, but if they find more infected tissue, they would be unable to install the plate at that time. That would require another surgical procedure after the tissue around the injury is clear of infection and, sources confirmed, that would not give Gronkowski the required 10 weeks healing time to be ready for the season opener in September.

ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss added this gnarly detail: “Gronkowski was in California visiting friends recently, and when he woke up in the morning, his arm was swollen and he noticed some discharge.” Bummer, dude. How the hell did poor Gronk get to this point?

November 18: He breaks his forearm in the fourth quarter—while blocking during an extra point—of New England’s blowout win over the Colts. Reports speculate that he’ll be out of action for at least a few weeks. He has surgery and ends up missing five games.

December 29: Gronk makes his triumphant return, catching a 23-yard touchdown pass in the Patriots’ regular season-ending victory over the Dolphins. His performance, however, is slightly ominous. That afternoon, he sports a puffy cast and doesn’t appear comfortable using his surgically repaired left arm.

January 13: Early in New England’s Divisional playoff win over the Texans, Gronkowski falls hard on his bad arm. Afterward, CBS cuts to a shot of him on the bench. He’s clearly in some serious pain. Reports soon trickle out that he’s re-broken his left forearm. He has a second surgery and misses the AFC Championship Game.

February 3: On Super Bowl Sunday, Gronk is spotted wrasslin’ with his boys in a Las Vegas club. His left arm, encased in a sleeve, appears to survive the sweaty bro-fest.

Late February (exact date unclear): Gronk reportedly has a third surgery on his busted forearm, this one to take care of an infection.

March 27: Gronkowski tells ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning that he’s “doing a lot better, definitely. Feeling a lot better. My arm is feeling way better than it was during the playoffs and regular season when I broke it.”

And now, this: “All are hopeful the pesky infection has been cured but they cannot be sure until the surgery to remove the old plate and the process to replace it begins,” Borges and Guregian write. To recap: that’ll be the FOURTH arm surgery Gronk’s had to undergo. On Sunday night, ESPN puts up a headline that says the “Patriots can no longer count on Gronkowski.” Ugh.

Here’s hoping the surgery goes well. After all, the summer won’t be the same without a healthy Gronk.