After suffering a monsterous hit last Sunday in a game against the New York Jets, the New England Patriots were hoping for good news involving tight end Rob Gronkowski. Unfortunately for Gronkowski and the Patriots, Gronk will be undergoing back surgery Friday which will sideline him for at least eight weeks. There is hope that Gronkowski will return during the second round of the playoffs, if the Patriots were to make it that far.
In eight games this season, Gronkowski has 25 receptions, for 540 yards, and 3 touchdowns. This season has not been kind to Gronkowski, it has been loaded with injury after injury. He missed the first two games of the season due to a hamstring injury, as well as an injury suffered during the game against the Seattle Seahawks.
When healthy, Gronkowski is arguably the best tight end in the league. He has great hands, good at stretching the field for the deep passes, and has the ability to burn the secondary with his size and speed. Even though Gronkowski is known for his pass catching abilities, he is also a decent run blocker.
On the Patriots side of things, this is a crushing blow to the offense and this could not come at a worse time. The Patriots are in a fight with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders for the #1 in the AFC.
With Gronkowski in the game, he brings the elements of a deep threat in the offense. The team is still led by Tom Brady, who will likely find a way to bring some positive out of the injury and work around it, like he always does.
On the Gronkowski side of things, this is just another injury added to the series of injury that he has suffered in his career. Gronkowski has missed at least one game every season since the 2012 season due to multiple injuries. Suffering that many injuries at the age of 27 are not good for any player in the league, so it is vital that Gronk take as much care on his body as possible.
With Gronkowski out, expect to see tight end Martellus Bennett, who the team acquired this past off-season from the Chicago Bears, step up and have a bigger role in the offense. Bennett is already putting up decent numbers as the backup tight end with 42 receptions, for 520 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Players like Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell should have the chance to step up and have bigger roles in the Patriots offense, too.
Photo Credit BleacherReport.com
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