This has been expected for some time, but now we have confirmation that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will indeed undergo back surgery. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the procedure is scheduled for Tuesday in Los Angeles.
This will be the fifth surgery Gronkowski has had since November, four on his forearm and this one on his back. He also had surgery on his ankle in February of 2012. That is just a ridiculous number of times going under the knife for anyone, let alone a young player.
The upcoming back surgery will reportedly carry a 10-week recovery period, which means he won’t be ready for the start of training camp in late July. Most feel it’s a near-certainty that he will miss some regular season action as well. The two-time Pro Bowler previously suffered a back injury that forced him to miss his entire junior season at the University of Arizona.
The 24-year-old Gronkowski is the highest-paid tight end in the NFL and after such a crazy stretch of injuries you’d have to think the Patriots are rethinking the gigantic, eight-year, $55.23 million contract they handed him in 2012. The team holds a $10 million option on him following the 2015 season and unless he proves he can stay healthy long-term, you can bet they’ll opt out of that.
Gronkowski has put up unbelievable numbers for a tight end when healthy. His 2011 season was arguably the greatest ever for a his position, as he hauled in 90 passes for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns. The touchdown and yardage numbers are both NFL records for a tight end. So far in three seasons he’s already pulled in 38 touchdowns to go along with 187 receptions.
But the two-time All-Pro’s off-the-field habits have been questioned by virtually everyone. The guy likes to party and may not be taking great care of his body when he’s not on the field. New England’s patience will certainly wear thin if he can’t manage to stay healthy, take care of himself and stop making headlines for his off-the-field antics.