Pats’ TE Rob Gronkowski Out For Season With Torn ACL & MCL

The New England Patriots likely won’t have any trouble making the postseason, currently sitting pretty atop the AFC East at 10-3, but they’ll be making the journey without the services of tight end Rob Gronkowski, reports say.

Gronkowski left the Patriots’ thrilling comeback win over the Cleveland Browns in the third quarter after a low hit by Cleveland safety T.J. Ward. It has since been reported that Gronkowski tore both the ACL and MCL in his right knee as a result of the hit. There was no penalty on the play. After the game, Ward explained his decision to hit Gronkowski low as being out of fear of being fined.

“If I would’ve hit him up high, there’s a chance I was going to get a fine,” Ward said via the Boston Globe.

Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski agreed with Ward about the hit.

“He was tackling him low and just trying to get him on the ground,” Chudzinski said. “I don’t think there was anything to that.”

“Of course, you hate to see any player ever injured. Gronkowski’s a great player. I don’t know about the severity of the injury at all, but I hope he’s back.”

Rob Gronkowksi had already missed the first six games of the Patriots’ 2013 season recovering from offseason surgeries. Prior to injury, Gronkowski had racked up 592 yards receiving in just seven games, good enough for second among New England receivers. Rob Gronkowski’s average of just under 85 yards per game was good enough for 10th in the National Football League, the only tight end in the top 10.

So where does this leave the New England Patriots and their hopes for a Super Bowl appearance?

“I realize this is a huge blow without Gronkowski, but I am not going to bet against Tom Brady,” ESPN’s Skip Bayless said when discussing the Rob Gronkowski situation.

ESPN’s Merril Hoge points out that Gronkowski plays a huge role in the Patriots’ red zone efficiency. New England enjoys a 69 percent scoring efficiency with Rob Gronkowski; it drops to 41 percent without him.

Can the New England Patriots make it to the Super Bowl without Rob Gronkowski? How will this injury affect Rob’s career?