New England Patriots superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski reportedly will require back surgery this offseason, adding to the health issues he has endured over the past two years.
A source told NFL Network's Albert Breer of the unfortunate development on Wednesday:
UPDATE: Friday, June 14 at 9:37 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway
While it's been known for weeks that Gronkowski will have surgery, we finally have an answer to when. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Patriots tight end will undergo his back operation Tuesday in Los Angeles:
There is no word on how long the surgery will keep Gronkowski out of commission. This back procedure wil be his fifth different surgery since November, the first four being to his oft-injured forearm.
---End of update---
This confirms a prior report from USA Today's Mike Garafolo, who indicated less than two weeks ago that back surgery was a possibility for the two-time All-Pro.
Garafolo reported that the time frame of recovery for Gronkowski would be roughly the same as his fourth left forearm surgery, but Breer indicates that Gronkowski will likely miss at least part of Patriots training camp.
Thankfully, the disc issue that the surgery will repair is unrelated to the one he needed to have shaved down in 2009, which caused Gronkowski to miss his entire junior season at the University of Arizona.
The absence of a 100-percent Gronkowski from the gridiron has arguably cost New England a legitimate shot at winning the past two Super Bowls. When fully healthy, Gronkowski is undoubtedly one of the most electric, dynamic players in the entire NFL.
Given this latest setback, it will take even more time for Gronkowski to get back into football shape, which could cause his 2013 campaign to start off slowly.
Gronkowski has caught 187 passes for 2,663 yards and 38 touchdowns in his brief career and only recently turned 24, so he has plenty of time to get back on track. He's signed through 2019, entering the second season of an eight-year, $55 million deal.
However, his health issues are a discouraging trend for the Patriots organization. If the Tom Brady-led offense is to continue its reign as the highest-scoring unit in the league, it will be essential for Gronkowski to be a key contributor.