Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski needs back surgery, according to a source who spoke with Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News (on Twitter). The surgery is expected to keep Gronk out for eight weeks, which means that he will be out for the remainder of the regular season.
Gronkowski, who has already missed a good chunk of the year to different injuries, suffered a ruptured or herniated disk against Seattle. Between his hamstring, punctured lung, and bad back, Gronk will finish the year with just eight games played and six starts. His 25 catches, 540 yards, and three touchdowns all represent career lows.
Without Gronkowski, the Patriots will lean even more heavily on Martellus Bennett. Behind them is the recently-acquired Matt Lengel, who is more of a blocking tight end. New England could look to add a third tight end to hold them over while Gronkowski is out.
It’s worth noting that the Patriots have already used their IR-DTR slot on reserve quarterback Jacoby Brissett. So, even if Gronk can beat the two month timetable he has been given, he cannot be placed on IR and returned to the active roster.
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