Gronkowski out for season after re-injuring arm

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Gronkowski out for season after re-injuring arm

FOXBORO -- The Patriots suffered a big blow in their Divisional Round matchup with the Texans when tight end Rob Gronkowski re-fractured the forearm that he first broke against the Colts on Nov. 18. He will need to undergo surgery again and is out for the remainder of the postseason.

The news was first reported by Pro Football Talk.

Gronkowski came up hurting when he laid out for a pass along the sideline in the first quarter and hit his left arm on the Gillette Stadium turf. He immediately took himself out of the game and later headed for the Patriots locker room.

Gronkowski broke his left arm in a collision while blocking for an extra point in a win over the Colts in Week 11. He returned for New England's Week 17 and caught two passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Dolphins. He wore a large padded wrap covering his arm against the Dolphins and sported the wrap again against the Texans.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if there was any uncertainty as to whether or not Gronkowski's arm was ready for live action.

"He wouldn't have played if he wasn't," Belichick said.

Belichick said he did not know if Gronkowski's arm was broken or if he had been taken to the hospital. He was asked if he had any regret playing Gronkowski.

"The doctors handle the medical decisions," Belichick answered.

The Patriots will now have to move forward without Gronkowski. They survived without him for six weeks earlier in the season, but his talents are so unique that there is no substitute who can handle all of the duties in which he normally thrives when fully healthy.

"It's hard to replace a player like him because he's a freak of nature," Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez said. "Everyone has to step up and everyone has to keep making plays so we can keep it rolling."

As is the case so often when a Patriots player is injured, teammates in the locker room sounded their common next-man-up refrain.

"It's unfortunate, but guys have to step up," said Patriots receiver Wes Welker. "Guys have got to come out, make plays and make up for his absence."

Against the Texans, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui saw a healthy dose of playing time when Gronkowski went down. He didn't register a catch but was a serviceable substitute, as was running back Shane Vereen when Danny Woodhead was injured on New England's first offensive play from scrimmage. Patriots coach Bill Belichick lauded both for their efforts after the game.

"Hoomanawanui and Shane stepped in there and both did a good job for us," Belichick said. "Shane obviously made a lot of big plays, but Hooman did a great job too, as he's been doing for the last month. These kinds of games, you never really know when the dial spins, where it's going to wind up, who it's going to end up on. Those guys were prepared. Offensively we were able to move the ball, put up some points. It's a credit to everybody to be ready."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said the whole game plan changed in the first half when the team was without both Gronkowski and Woodhead.

"We had a whole game plan built for Gronkowski and Woodhead," Brady said. "We run the first series of the game and all those plans change I think a little of it was 'What are we going to do now? How are we going to adjust?' But we seemed to settle in there midway through the first quarter and put together a pretty good game. Obviously it's a bummer to lose anybody, but someone of Rob's importance or Danny's importance, we need guys to step in and fill the void, whether it's this game or any game after."

Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

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Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

BOSTON, Mass. – There’s a long way to go toward a complete resurrection from last season’s misdeeds, but Jimmy Hayes made a nice little statement that he’s learned some lessons in Boston’s preseason debut. The Bruins lost the game, 3-2, in the shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Hayes scored one of the two goals for the Black and Gold as one of the few veterans in a very youthful lineup for Boston.

The Hayes goal was a nice give-and-go with Jake DeBrusk at the end of a nice transition play in the second period, and was the highlight of a night playing on the right wing with DeBrusk and center Austin Czarnik. The score and a team-high four shots on net for Hayes represent a good start for what he hopes is a gigantic rebound season after last year’s disappointment.

Clearly Hayes heard some of the unflattering chatter about him on sports talk radio and otherwise last season, and may even understand how his difficult season in his home city of Boston -- whether he actively expressed it to him or not -- might have been a factor in his buddy Jimmy Vesey ultimately choosing New York over Boston.

It appears the former Boston College standout is looking to change the conversation in Boston. 

“Yeah, sure am. I’ve got a lot to come out here and…[there were] a lot of comments about myself, but I know I’m a good player. I got to this level for a reason,” said Hayes, who dropped from 19 goals and 35 points with the Panthers to 13 goals, 29 points and a career-worst minus-12 for the Bruins last season.

“To be able to play at the NHL level and continue to play at that level on a consistent basis is what I expect out of myself. I do it for myself and our teammates, and to help our team win. I’ll continue moving forward.

“It’s funny being the old guy on the line. It’s nice to see those young guys and see how excited they are, and how excited I am to get back out there. That’s what I said to the guys, they still have the jitters and they still have them for the first preseason game. It shows that these guys want it and it’s been a lot of fun skating with those guys. They’ve got a lot of speed and to keep pushing the pace. Trying to keep up with them has been a lot of fun.”

There is still a long way to go for the 26-year-old winger, and his willingness to stick around the danger areas on Monday night was a welcomed one for a Bruins team that needs his 6-foot-6 body in front of the net. Hayes paid the price with stitches and a fat lip after taking a Dalton Prout high-stick to the mouth in front of the Columbus net that went uncalled on a Bruins PP at the end of the second period.

That’s all part of the big man’s game on the ice, however. It’s also the kind of battle and determined fight that Hayes will need to show much more consistently in his second season with the hometown Bruins if he’s truly looking to bounce-back from last year’s mediocre performance.