Rob Gronkowski is not likely to play in New England's season opener. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is not likely to play in the Patriots' season opener at Buffalo on Sept. 8, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
In addition to the four surgeries Gronkowski has had on his left forearm, the 24-year-old also had back surgery in the offseason. He hasn't played in any preseason games.
With Gronkowski out and Aaron Hernandez incarcerated, the Patriots have turned to rookie Zach Sudfeld in the preseason. An undrafted free agent out of Nevada, Sudfeld has three receptions for 54 yards and as score in two games.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Gronkowski led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 2011 with 17 and was fifth in receptions. He scored 11 touchdowns last season.