Everyone grab a cheap beer and a college girl, because the Summer of Gronk is back on!
Within the next week, Rob Gronkowski will undergo another surgery on his twice-broken left forearm. (The remarkable photo above shows the instant of the second break, in New England's divisional playoff game against Houston.) Normally, a fourth surgery in seven months isn't a good thing, but in Gronkowski's case, it means the worst-case scenario has been averted and the actual healing can finally begin.
In February, Gronkowski was mysteriously removed from a scheduled NFL Network gig. It soon emerged that he was battling an infection received during an earlier procedure to install a metal plate in his arm. The Patriots were their usual tight-lipped selves, but word leaked that it was a staph infection—a dangerous, occasionally drug resistant strain of bacteria. Tom Brady's rehab time was extended by months when he contracted staph during his 2008 ACL surgery. Last month, Gronkowski and the Patriots received a scare--the infection was not healing, and doctors would have to schedule more surgeries to clean out his arm if it didn't respond to treatment.
The good news was first reported by Pro Football Talk: doctors now believe the infection has cleared up. That'll be confirmed when they open it up, and if all looks good, they'll replace the plate in Gronkowski's arm. Then and only then can he begin the actual rehab that he expected to be done with by now; a typical recovery time is 10 weeks. That would bring him back just around the start of training camp.
Now all Patriot fans have to worry about is the fact that a metal plate puts Gronk's arm at higher risk for a future break.