EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 02: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots carries a reception into the endzone past Antrel Rolle of the New York Giants for a first quarter touchdown on September 2, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski is recovering from surgery for a broken forearm that will sideline the New England Patriots tight end for the first time in his three NFL seasons.
A person familiar with the operation said Monday the surgery was done but did not say which arm was injured or how much time Gronkowski was expected to miss. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement. The team could not confirm that Gronkowski had an operation, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said.
Gronkowski went to the locker room with team physician Dr. Thomas Gill with 3:55 left in the fourth quarter after blocking on an extra point following the final touchdown in the Patriots’ 59-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
He caught seven passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the game, becoming the first tight end in NFL history with at least 10 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said on Monday morning that he had known about the injury but did not know it’s extent.
“It’s part of this game,” Brady said on his weekly appearance on WEEI radio. “He’s got to do his best to get back as soon as possible, and we’ve got to go out there and win some games without him.”
The Patriots (7-3) lead the other three teams in the AFC East by three games. They visit one of them, the New York Jets (4-6), on Thursday night.
Gronkowski had 10 touchdown catches as a rookie in 2010, then set an NFL record for tight ends with 17 touchdowns last year, when he caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards. But he sprained his left ankle in the AFC title game and was a nonfactor in the Super Bowl, which New England lost 21-17 to the New York Giants.
The Patriots have been without Aaron Hernandez, their other first-string tight end, for the last three games — and a total of six this season — after he sprained his right ankle in Week 2. He has 17 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns in four games. There’s a chance he could play Thursday night.
The other tight ends on the roster — Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui and Visanthe Shiancoe — have a total of four receptions.