Report: Gronkowski may not be ready to start season

Report: Gronkowski may not be ready to start season
April 7, 2013, 10:30 am
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According to a report by the Boston Herald, Rob Gronkowski has been dealing with an infection to his surgically-repaired left arm which could force him to miss the start of the 2013 season.

From the Herald:

According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, tight end 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 has been taking antibiotics for about six weeks, according to the Herald, but it's "not yet assured" that the tight end's arm infection has been completely healed.

The report goes on to say that doctors will perform surgery on Gronkowski to replace the plate currently in his arm with a new one. But if an infection is found during the procedure, the new plate would not be introduced. In that scenario, the infection would have to be eradicated before a new plate could be inserted in a separate procedure at a later date. Under that timeline, Gronkowski would not have time sufficient to heal and be ready for the start of the season.

It's made clear in the report, however, that there is a chance Gronkowski could be ready to start the season so long as there is no infection found in his arm during the plate-replacement surgery. If that's the case, the new plate will be inserted immediately and Tom Brady would have his favorite red-zone target ready to go for Week 1 of the season.

Gronkowski broke his arm in a Week 11 game versus Indianapolis last season while blocking during an extra point. He had a metal plate inserted in his arm and missed five weeks, then played in the final regular-season game against Miami. Against the Dolphins, Gronkowski looked tentative, but he played again in the AFC divisional playoff win against the Texans after a bye week.

In the first quarter of that game, Gronkowski suffered a break in his left arm just above where the plate had been installed by team physician Dr. Tom Gill. As a result, he was ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs.

In February, Gronkowski then had a third surgery -- not performed by Gill, the Herald points out in its report -- to treat the infection. He has been on antibiotics ever since, according to the Herald.

Gronkowski seemed like a guy set on starting next season on time when he spoke to "Mike and Mike" on ESPN last week.

“The arm is feeling way better than it was during the playoffs, and in the regular season when I broke it,” he said. “Right now, I’m rehabbing, getting the muscle stronger around it . . . When my trainers give me the good-to-go, hopefully in the next couple weeks, as soon as possible, I can get rolling again.”