Patriots superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski is set to have surgery for a ruptured disc in his back this week, and the recovery time will potentially be eight weeks, according to Vic Carucci from The Buffalo News. The injury was suffered against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has a semi-conflicting report that calls the injury a herniated disc, with no timetable set for his return.
Gronkowski was knocked out of the Patriots loss to the Seahawks after Earl Thomas hammered him with what he later called “one of the hardest” hits he’s ever taken in his career. He returned to the game but reportedly suffered a perforated lung and had to miss the Pats next game against the 49ers. The Pro Bowl tight end returned to the field last week against the Jets but left the game during the Patriots’ third drive of the day and never returned.
The simple math puts his return at January 26th, the Thursday after the AFC Championship game, meaning New England could need to go all the way to the Super Bowl to see him on the field again this season. Losing their best offensive weapon could lower the ceiling for the Patriots season as they were expected to contend for a championship but now may fall behind several surging teams in the AFC.