When the Patriots announced that Rob Gronkowski would be undergoing back surgery on Friday, the team left the door slightly open for a possible Gronk return in the playoffs. However, that's officially not going to happen.
New England announced on Saturday that Gronk has been placed on injured reserve, which means he won't be playing again until 2017 at the earliest. Although each team is allowed to designate one player to return from IR, the Patriots can't do that with Gronk because they already used their one slot on Jacoby Brissett.
Gronk's season will finish with 25 catches for 540 yards with three touchdowns.
The Patriots tight end put up huge numbers once Tom Brady returned in Week 5. Before Brady came back, Gronk only caught a total of two passes for 11 yards in the two games he played while Brady was suspended.
Gronk's season basically came to an end after he took a vicious hit from Earl Thomas in a 31-24 loss to the Seahawks in Week 10. Although Gronk was cleared to play in Week 12 vs. the Jets, he didn't last long in that game and was knocked out with an injury in the first half.
After the game, the Patriots medical staff determined that Gronk would need surgery to fix a ruptured disk in his back.
It's been a rough four years for Gronk. Since 2012, the Patriots tight end has broken his forearm (requiring four separate surgeries), torn his ACL and had another surgery on his back.
The good news for the Patriots this time around is that Gronk was healthy enough after his surgery on Friday to make a video with his dad that he posted to Instagram.
The Patriots filled Gronk's roster spot by promoting running back D.J. Foster from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.