New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will likely need to undergo a fourth surgery on his left forearm to remove a plate in the arm, ESPN.com's Mike Reiss reported on Sunday. The Patriots said they wouldn't comment on an earlier report from the Boston Herald that Gronkowski could need surgery, but Reiss reported that the surgery is "very likely" to happen.
Reiss reported that Gronkowski is battling an infection in an area where a second metal plate was installed to help heal his broken forearm. Doctors would remove the plate and install a new one, but they would need to make sure the infection is gone.
If Gronkowski does need another surgery, the estimated time of recovery would be 10 weeks. If Gronkowski's infection holds up the surgery, it could affect Gronkowski's readiness for the start of next season.
The 23-year-old Gronkowski missed five games near the end of last season after breaking his left forearm blocking during the final, meaningless extra point of a 59-24 Patriots win over the Indianapolis Colts. He re-injured the forearm during New England's 41-28 AFC Divisional Playoff victory over the Houston Texas and missed the rest of the Patriots' playoff run. In 11 regular-season games last season, Gronkowski had 55 receptions for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns.