Rob Gronkowski's return to football may have to wait until after the start of the season. An infection has developed from his second surgery on his broken left forearm, reports the Boston Herald, and without a little luck, he could be looking at delays that last into September:
Doctors treating Gronkowski will have to go back into the arm again to remove the plate and install a new one, but if they find more infected tissue, they would be unable to install the plate at that time. That would require another surgical procedure after the tissue around the injury is clear of infection and, sources confirmed, that would not give Gronkowski the required 10 weeks healing time to be ready for the season opener in September.
Recent comments from Gronkowski were more positive, saying he was rehabbing and waiting to get back to work, but few athletes have been known for embracing a slow return to the field. Given the persistent nature of the injury, the team may opt for whatever course of action results in the most stable, long-term success.
With the changes in New England's receiving corps, a familiar face like Gronkowski could be a big deal for Tom Brady on opening day. Free agency has led to big changes for New England, and Patriots blog Pats Pulpit has a good look at what that might mean for the team. They also have a take on some of the less serious offseason Gronkowski concerns.