Yikes. Things aren’t looking too good for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski injured arm. Gronk woke up to find his left forearm, operated on three times since November, swollen and leaking. An infection, contracted sometime after his second surgery, has not cleared up as expected. After an immediate cross-country flight back to Boston and a medical examination later, there’s legitimate fear Gronkowski won’t be ready for opening week.
Gronkowski broke his arm in November, and then again in January. We fretted that the healing process wasn’t going to be as simple as the Patriots made it seem, and we were right—for the wrong reasons. Gronkowski had a metal plate installed to set the break, but somewhere along the line the wound got infected. No one would say what it was, but the mind immediately jumped to a staph infection, a relatively common post-op complication that can force a player to restart the rehab clock. (Tom Brady knows all about it.)
In February, Gronkowski underwent a third surgery to clean out the wound, and went on a six-week course of antibiotics. That six weeks is just about here, and doctors are worried that it hasn’t gone away. It’s “very likely” that Gronkowski will need a fourth, and possibly a fifth surgery before he can even start his rehab, very much putting his availability for training camp and the regular season into question.
If doctors find infected tissue, they’ll be forced to remove the forearm plate and clean out the wound. Only when that heals—after another protracted course of antibiotics—would a new plate be installed, and Gronkowski would require the originally stated 10 weeks to even be ready for full-contact drills. And if the infection means the bone hasn’t set correctly, it could be much longer.
A doctor (who has not treated Gronkowski) spoke with The Boston Herald and gave some scary scenarios to Patriots fans who are already on edge:
“If you have issues with reinfection of the bone and the plate, there can be long-term consequences that the bone will not heal. It may need significant time to heal. That means sometimes that they have to take the plate out, wash the wound out and let all of the infection completely resolve before they go back in and do a repair. Sometimes, you can get a chronic non-union, or non-healing, of the bone.”
If he has a wound that is chronically infected — they cannot get rid of the infection — it could stop them from having the definite operation to completely repair his arm, which means he probably would not play football. That is the worst-case scenario. I’m not saying that is going to happen, but that is the worst-case scenario.”
The Patriots have yet to speak on the most recent events. They more than likely won’t comment until after the surgeons poke around in Rob’s arm. Gronkowski’s agent says there is no surgery scheduled at this time.
Damn, first the Pats lose Wes Welker and now this? Well at least the Pats have 6 tight ends to choose from in case Gronk doesn’t heal up in time. Get well soon!
P.S. #coltsnation 😉