Report: Rob Gronkowski facing fourth surgery on forearm

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has done a good job of subduing his off-field offseason activities ever since the Pats (reportedly) asked him to take it down a notch. But his lack of shenanigans hasn't helped his health much, and now Gronk might be facing an additional surgery on his forearm.

Gronkowski underwent a third surgery on his broken arm in late February and now, according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, he needs a fourth surgery on the arm to "change the plate that's securing the broken bone in the forearm."

We heard earlier this week that the Pats and Gronk were in "wait and see" mode when it came to his arm and that he was facing a two-week stretch where the team and the tight end tried to determine what was going on.

This news is significantly worse, though not necessarily unexpected. Apparently the biggest issue is whether the infection remains in the tissue surrounding the plate and the arm.

Per Guregian, the docs are going to do a fourth surgery regardless. But the ideal situation involves cutting open his arm, finding no infection, sewing it up and moving along.

The nightmare situation is if the infection remains in the arm. If, upon cutting Gronk open for the fourth time this offseason, doctors find an infection, the timetable for the tight end's recovery is extended out much further and the possibility of a fifth surgery suddenly looms.

That, Guregian writes, could mean Gronk's "participation for the start of the season and perhaps beyond would be in jeopardy."

It's a terrifying notion for Patriots fans given the change on offense they've seen. Wes Welker is out and Danny Amendola is in. The second wide receiver position is wide open with Michael Jenkins, rookie Aaron Dobson and Donald Jones fighting it out. Aaron Hernandez is obviously a capable starting tight end, but he wasn't exactly healthy in 2012 either.

Tom Brady will make things work and the Pats will likely win the AFC East regardless of who -- Brady aside -- is and who is not healthy on the offensive end of things. But Gronk's inability to get healthy isn't exactly a good harbinger for 2013 success.

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