In the third quarter, Tom Brady threw a pass to Gronkowski up the seam. Almost immediately, the Patriots Pro Bowl tight end was hit directly in the knee by Browns safety T.J. Ward. Gronkowski crumpled to the ground, obviously in serious pain.
New England medical personnel rushed onto the field to assist Gronkowski. After several minutes of attention, he was eventually taken off the field on a cart. The tough, reliable tight end was unable to even put any weight on his right leg.
Source says Rob Gronkowski suffered what’s believed to be a torn ACL. MRI tomorrow to confirm. Not surprising but another bad break for him.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 8, 2013
Gronkowski, 24, missed the first six games of the 2014 season due to offseason back and forearm surgeries. He has returned to the super star pace that Patriots’ fans are used to, catching 37 passes for 560 yards and four touchdowns in his six starts.
During the 2012 offseason, Gronkowski was signed to a lucrative six-year, $53 million extension by the New England Patriots, the richest contract for a tight end in NFL history. He was being rewarded for his record setting 17 touchdown season in 2011.
On Monday, Gronkowski will have an official MRI to confirm whether or not he truly suffered a torn ACL. If so, his injury could have serious playoff implications for the Patriots. They currently lead the AFC East with a 10-3 record, but are fighting for the best record to ensure home field advantage. Gronkowski is one of QB Tom Brady’s favorite targets.
The Patriots managed to pull out the win in Gronkowski’s absence with an end of game onside kick and signature Brady led drive for the game winning touchdown to Danny Amendola. The victory is certainly bittersweet for the Patriots organization as they await the final word on Gronkowski’s knee.
[Image courtesy of Stew Milne | USA Today Sports]