On Sunday, Ron Gronkowski played two drives before leaving the game in The Meadowlands against the New York Jets with an apparent injury. Some were worried he may have re-aggravated his punctured lung/chest injury, but it was later revealed he hurt his back.
Gronk has had back injuries since his college days, so this injury was something most fans realized was not going to end well. Minutes ago, it was revealed that Gronk's back injury was much more serious than previously thought and will require surgery. Gronk is scheduled to go under the knife tomorrow and be out for roughly two months with a ruptured/herniated disc, which would have him returning some time in the playoffs. Most likely, Gronkowski would be ready to go right after the AFC Championship Game, if they were to get that far.
While Gronk has played in 38 of 43 games in the past three seasons, it appears as if he is always hurt to some degree and this latest injury will only escalate the talks of the Patriots trading him at some point soon. This season, Gronk has 25 receptions and 540 yards with three touchdowns, but was really only healthy from weeks 5-8.
The good news is the Patriots have arguably the second best tight end in all of football in Martellus Bennett. While Bennett is battling an injury of his own, he has toughed it out and been one of the best players on offense. On the season, Bennett has 42 receptions for 540 yards and four touchdowns.
This injury may not put the Patriots out of contention for winning a Super Bowl, as the Patriots have the best record in the AFC and have a relatively easy schedule for the rest of the season. However, homefield advantage is now in serious doubt and we all know how important that is. Gronk is a huge red zone threat and his loss may be felt deeply when the Patriots have to play a legitimate team.
Man, this blows.