Confirmation came on Wednesday that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski would indeed need surgery on his back. After already missing significant time and having four surgeries on a broken forearm, it seems Gronkowski can't catch a break. If there's anything positive to take from this, it's that his recovery time should overlap with his fourth arm procedure and that, if all goes as planned, he could be back for the Patriots' training camp.
Over at Pats Pulpit, they took a look at the depth behind Gronkowski:
Either way, the depth of the Patriots tight end corps will be one of the greatest areas of focus from now through the preseason. The Patriots have fellow 4th year player Aaron Hernandez, who is a versatile piece who doesn't often line up as an in-line tight end.
After Hernandez, the Patriots have veterans Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui, andDaniel Fells. All three figure to compete for playing time in training camp. The 2012 waiver claim of Ballard now looks even smarter. While there would be a significant drop off from Gronkowski to Ballard, there's no question that having a big, physical, and capable backup in Ballard is a luxury that few teams have.
Here's some other headlines you may have missed from Wednesday.
The Associated Press reported that the two men at the root of a prank call involving Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix and Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominick will face federal wiretapping charges. The two men allegedly arranged the call between Nix and Dominick without the two executives realizing it, then proceeded to record it and sell the tape. What was a revealing and somewhat funny call back then is now a serious issue for the two.
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster underwent an MRI after suffering a strained calf on Wednesday. Foster had to leave practice with the injury, but it's worth noting that the MRI seems more of a precaution than anything. As of now, there isn't serious concern that Foster could miss significant time. That said, according to Battle Red Blog, Foster will be out until training camp. It's probably a decision the team would make even if the injury isn't too serious, given his value.
Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, doesn't want to change the team name for any reason. On Wednesday, news came out that several members of Congress were urging Snyder to reconsider. It's unclear to what lengths the government will get involved, but it's clear the matter isn't simply going to go away anytime soon.
The San Francisco 49ers were hit with the injury bug big time when wide receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon at OTAs. On Wednesday, running back Frank Gore sat out practice with an injury, though it was described as "nothing too serious." All the caution in the world wouldn't be too much for Gore, who has a long injury history and will be counted on as the primary back. He could also see more carries than initially expected due to Crabtree's injury.
Over at Niners Nation, they echo the "caution is best" sentiment:
At this point there is no need to rush things. Kyle Williams is a good example of that. He could very well get some work in at OTAs, but training camp is when things kick into high gear. There is no point in risking an aggravation of his knee injury at this point. The risk will be there in training camp, but there will be more healing time between now and then.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is all about recovery. He was back on the practice field at team OTAs on Wednesday despite having sports hernia surgery back in February. It's just another strong return from injury for Peterson, who rushed for over 2,000 yards last season following major reconstructive surgery on his knee.