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."

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

BOSTON – For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics ran into a team that played with a greater sense of desperation.

And the result was yet another defeat as the Portland Trail Blazers, playing their second game in less than 24 hours, were able to get off their losing skid with a 127-123 overtime win over the Celtics.

Boston (26-17) has now lost back-to-back games at home, while the Blazers (19-27) snapped a four-game losing streak.

In the extra session, Portland jumped out to a 117-113 lead only for Boston’s Al Horford scoring on a bank-shot in the paint and Thomas draining a go-ahead 3-pointer for Boston.

Portland regained the lead when Al-Farouq Aminu made a pair of free throws with 59.3 seconds to play to make it a 119-118 game.

Boston soon fell behind 122-118, but a pair of Thomas free throws with 44.8 seconds to play made it a two-point game.

Mason Plumlee scored with 24 seconds to play in overtime, and an Al Horford miss – rebounded by Plumlee who was then fouled by Horford – essentially put the game away with 13.5 seconds to play.

Boston found themselves down late in the fourth quarter and seemingly headed towards defeat, only to get an unexpected lift in the final seconds from Terry Rozier.

Trailing by three points late in the fourth, Boston had one last chance to force overtime so who did they turn to?

If you were thinking Thomas which is what the Blazers and most fans were thinking, you would have been dead wrong.

The fourth quarter may be Thomas’ time to shine, but at that point in the game it was Rozier’s moment as he drained a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left that ultimately forced overtime. He finished with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists off the bench.

The Blazers came into the game with the kind of potent scoring punch in the backcourt that strikes the fear into the heart of any defense, let alone one that has been as up and down as the Boston Celtics this season.

For most of the game, Portland’s 1-2 punch of Damian Lillard (28 points) and C.J. McCollum (35 points) lived up to the lofty billing as they combined for 63 points.

McCollum and Lillard both did their share of damage down the stretch, but it was their bench – specifically Meyers Leonard – whose play kept Portland in the game early on.

He finished with 17 points off the bench.

Boston led 65-56 at the half, but soon found itself in a 67-all game after McCollum made the second of two free throws.

But Boston countered with a put-back basket by Kelly Olynyk and a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas to push Boston’s lead to 72-67.

Once again the Blazers fought back and eventually took the lead 74-72 on a powerful put-back dunk by Haverill (Mass.) native Noah Vonleh.

Brad Stevens had seen enough of his team getting pushed around, as he called a time-out with 5:31 to play in the quarter.

It didn’t help as Portland continued to bully their way around the rim for second and third-shot opportunities with their lead peaking at 78-72 following a put-back basket by  Plumlee.

But the Celtics responded with a 7-2 spurt capped off by an end-to-end, driving lay-up by Rozier that cut Portland’s lead to 80-79 with 2:44 to play in the quarter. Boston continued to be within striking distance as the third quarter ended with the Celtics trailing 88-86.