From Comcast SportsNetFOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski needs surgery on his broken left arm, a person with knowledge of the injury told The Associated Press.Gronkowski was injured on the Patriots' eighth offensive play of Sunday's 41-28 victory over Houston. He previously missed five regular-season games and is done for these playoffs.The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not released details of the injury."I'm not sure," coach Bill Belichick said after the game when asked if Gronkowski had broken his arm.Asked if Gronkowski had been taken to a hospital, Belichick said, "Look, I just walked off the field."He also said "he wouldn't have played if he wasn't ready" and that "the doctors handle the medical decisions."The Patriots also lost running back Danny Woodhead for the game when he hurt his thumb carrying the ball on their first offensive play. The club provided no update on his condition.Rookie defensive end Chandler Jones hurt his ankle later in the game.The Patriots will be home against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game next Sunday with the winner advancing to the Super Bowl two weeks later.Gronkowski had broken his left forearm while blocking for an extra point near the end of New England's 59-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 18 and underwent surgery. He missed five games and returned for the regular-season finale, a 28-0 win over the Miami Dolphins.He was reinjured just 6:44 into Sunday's game on a deep pass down the right sideline from Tom Brady. Gronkowski fell out of bounds as the pass dropped incomplete.He sat on the bench, writhing in pain, while talking to team doctor Thomas Gill before heading to the locker room.Brady provided no information on the condition of one of his most important teammates."I don't know anything about that," Brady said. "I haven't heard anything."Gronkowski's teammates said that the team would miss him but that other players have to contribute."It's hard to replace a player like him because he's a freak of nature," tight end Aaron Hernandez said, "but everyone has to step up and everyone has to keep making plays so we can keep it rolling. (He) definitely helps me out because so much attention is on him."It's a big loss and you can't replace a player like him."Last season, Gronkowski's status was listed as questionable for the Super Bowl just 48 hours before the New York Giants 21-17 victory. He had suffered a high sprain to his left ankle two weeks earlier in the Patriots' 23-20 win over the Ravens in the AFC championship game. That hampered him in the Super Bowl in which he had just two catches for 26 yards after a season in which he had 105 receptions, 15 of them in the other two postseason games.After the season, he had arthroscopic surgery on the ankle.On Sunday, backup tight end Michael Hoomanawanui got more action once Gronkowski left."I just saw him a little bit ago," Hoomanawanui said. "A guy with that much talent, it stinks. There's no other way to put it. I went down with a knee injury last year that ended my season and you never want to see that for anyone, for an opponent, but let alone a guy that you spend a lot of time with each and every day."Asked if Gronkowski would miss the rest of the postseason, Hoomanawanui said, "I haven't heard yet. He looks like he was hurting. I'm sure we'll find out here soon enough."
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while finally catching up on “The Man in the High Tower” on Amazon.
*The Coyotes and Panthers executed a trade sending Dave Bolland to Arizona, and it’s not exactly great news for Gary Bettman with Arizona continuing to take on a lot of dead money.
*Alex Pietrangelo was appropriately humbled to be named the 21st captain in the history of the St. Louis Blues.
*The Colorado Avalanche have a new head coach, and his name is Jared Bednar, who it is said will get the players to play hard for him.
*The footage of somebody in full goalie equipment running away from a burglary scene is something out of a movie.
*The New York Rangers can never have enough depth, and that’s why they added Brandon Pirri to the mix on Thursday.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker says Lawson Crouse brings the total package in the trade from Florida to Arizona, and he also brings a player that can take a hell of a hit as he was the guy that got rocked by Charlie McAvoy at the World Junior Showcase earlier this month.
*It’s only 15 days until the US National Team Development Program gets going with their 2016-17 schedule: here it is in full.
*For something completely different: can you see David Ortiz’s face in this corn maze? This could be like an ink blot test.
On Toucher and Rich, Sean McAdam nominates Clay Buchholz for the eighth-inning role in the Red Sox bullpen.
FOXBORO -- When DJ Foster took the field for Patriots OTAs, he looked as advertised: quick, a crisp route-runner, and the owner of a pair of dependable hands. But that was back when players wore shorts to every practice. Since then, the undrafted rookie running back out of Arizona State hasn't had the opportunity to do much other than work on his conditioning while the majority of his teammates practiced.
That could soon change. Though Foster has dealt with what he calls a "nagging" injury throughout much of training camp, he felt well enough this week to return to practice, and on Friday night he is likely to see preseason game action for the first time this summer.
The reason Foster's preseason debut could carry some importance is that he happens to play a position that may qualify as the thinnest on the Patriots roster right now. Because sub back extraordinaire Dion Lewis will not be healthy enough to start the season, and because coach Bill Belichick opted to part ways with veteran Donald Brown recently, the team is low on numbers in their running back room.
If Foster can capitalize on the opportunities he's given, he may make a case for a roster spot. James White, who is expected to be Lewis' primary replacement, is the other lone true sub back on the roster. Brandon Bolden can fill in at that role on an emergency basis, and Tyler Gaffney has shown he can catch the football when asked, but neither has the kind of pass-catching upside of Foster, who played receiver for the Sun Devils as a senior and racked up 222 receptions during his four-year college career.
Foster has only so much time to prove he's worthy of a job. The Patriots have to reduce their numbers to 75 by Aug. 30. They need to be down to 53 by Sep. 3. Foster could be a tantalizing prospect to stash on the practice squad, but surely he'd like to make a push for a greater role.
He explained this week that, despite his recent physical limitations, he won't be holding back whenever he does get a chance to prove himelf.
"The coaches do a great job at just kind of making sure I'm OK and stuff," he said. "For me, when I'm in there, do what I can, give everything I got -- every rep, every chance I get with the reps. Stay in the playbook, stay involved in the meetings, and just try to learn as much as I can. Whenever I do get an opportunity, go out there and make the most of it."
Against the Panthers, the Patriots coaching staff will have to balance the need to evaluate players like Foster against good competition versus getting the entire team ready for Week 1. For example, they'd like to get a good look at Foster, whose practice reps were next to nil before this week. They'd also probably like to get White as many reps as possible so that he's prepared for the Cardinals.
Who should play when? And how many snaps do they need?
"You can’t see D.J. Foster play in this league. You have Arizona State film but that’s all you have, and some of the spring work that he did which is obviously encouraging," Belichick said earlier this week. "We still have him, but there’s just no body of work. Donald Brown, you can see Donald Brown . . . Players like D.J., it’s hard. You don’t have much to go on. But maybe he’ll be able to do more. We’ll get an evaluation of him soon, hopefully."
Friday night could be the night.