Rob Gronkowski is expected to have back surgery in mid-to-late June, putting his availability for training camp in serious doubt, according to Albert Breer of NFL Network.
It was established that Gronkowski would need to go under the knife for his lingering back issue a couple of weeks ago, but he needed to delay the back surgery in order to attend to his left forearm, which he had surgery on for the fourth time since November to finally eradicate the infection.
The New England Patriots must have serious concerns about Gronkowski moving forward. Let’s be honest — there is no way Gronkowski will return for training camp and at this point, an appearance in a preseason game seems like a long shot.
Gronkowski’s durability has been a major worry for the Patriots’ organization. He has gone under the knife six times since February of 2012 with multiple arm and ankle surgeries. With a seventh surgery upcoming for his back, the fear of him being damaged goods is a realistic possibility.
If he is to undergo back surgery in mid-June, he will have 12 weeks to recover for the Patriots’ season-opener against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. 12 weeks seems like a short amount of time to fully recover from a back surgery, especially since his back has bothered him since his intercollegiate days.
With Aaron Hernandez, Jake Ballard and Michael Hoomanawanui, the Patriots are clearly very deep at the position. Still, a drop off in production at tight end is expected with Gronkowski out.
Still, the real question remains: can he return to his All-Pro form, or will he never be able to shatter his current label of being injury-prone? That is a question that will remain unanswered until after the season plays out.
But the current pressing question for the Patriots is — will Gronkowski start the season on time and play in Week 1?