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Report: Patriots' Rob Gronkowski needs 4th surgery on injured forearm

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will need a fourth surgery on his injured forearm. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images Sport) Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will need a fourth surgery on his injured forearm. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images Sport)

New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski will need a fourth surgery on his injured forearm, reports the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian.

Citing a "source familiar with the case," Guregian writes that the operation is needed to "change the plate that’s securing the broken bone in the forearm."  The fourth surgery had been expected and can take place once doctors are sure Gronkowski has gotten rid of an infection in the arm, Guregian reports.

Gronkowski initially injured his left forearm in a win over the Colts in November. He missed five games but returned for the regular season finale. In New England's playoff game with Houston, he re-injured the forearm and was ruled out for the rest of the postseason.

His recovery hasn't gone smoothly. Gronkowski reportedly developed an infection around the metal plate installed in the arm. When the news was reported, in early April, there was speculation Gronkowski would miss the start of the season.

The Boston Herald reported at the time that, once the infection was gone, doctors would have to replace the metal plate. Then, Gronk would need about 11 weeks to recover.

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If the six-week course of antibiotics has been successful, the tight end could have the surgery done soon and possibly be ready for the start of the season. But, given the difficulties Gronkowski has had in his recovery, it's probably too early to look that far ahead.

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