APRob Gronkowski has had a nightmare offseason.
His twice-broken forearm got infected, and has required a total of four surgeries since he originally injured it in November.
Now, to make things worse, he reportedly needs surgery on a herniated disk in his back — an injury he somehow sustained while barely playing any football since last fall. The Boston Globe speculated that it will take him a minimum of 12 weeks to recover (mid-September).
At this point, it’s fair to ask if Gronkowski is simply too injury-prone to be the superstar it looked like he’d turn into two years ago.
He missed five regular season games and one playoff game in 2012-13. The year before that, he only had two catches for 26 yards in the Super Bowl because he was slowed by an ankle injury.
Back injuries are no joke. As we saw with Dwight Howard this year, it takes a long time to recover from any back surgery.
Gronkowski has a history back issues too. Coming out a college, there were rumblings (which Gronkowski and his agent denied) that he was deemed undraftable by some teams because he was coming off a back surgery.
While he was playing at Arizona in 2009, he had a three and a half hour surgery called a microdiscectomy where a portion of his spine was removed to relieve pressure on a nerve.
He ended up impressing scouts in the run-up to the Draft, but concerns still linger.
The Patriots even back loaded Gronkowski’s contract to protect themselves if he had an injury-shortened career.
Gronkowski is one of the most effective weapons in the NFL when he’s healthy. But the injuries are starting to pile up. This back surgery means we won’t get a full Gronk season until at least 2014.
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