An infection resulting from a surgery on Rob Gronkowski's forearm has caused "serious concern" and been a major factor in the New England Patriot tight end's extended leave of absence, a source tells WEEI.com.
The Gronkowski camp became concerned after multiple follow-up surgeries were undertaken to combat infections that developed around the site of a device that was placed in the forearm to promote healing. Sources told WEEI.com that the bone and surrounding nerves in the area have become weakened and are a concern moving forward.
Gronkowski had three additional forearm surgeries during the offseason following the initial placement of the implement.
The Patriots were hopeful that Gronkowski would be back on the field as early as Week 3, but the lingering medical issues have kept him sidelined. They also have his expected return this Sunday in jeopardy:
There is less optimism today than there was earlier this week that Rob Gronkowski will play Sunday vs. New Orleans. Still not cleared by Dr.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2013
The injury, first suffered on Nov. 18, 2012 against the Colts, reportedly could have healed on its own, but Patriots medical staff and Gronkowski opted for surgery in an attempt to get him back on the field for the playoffs. He returned for the Patriots' final regular season game, but re-injured the arm two weeks later and missed the AFC Championship loss to the Ravens.
More from SB Nation NFL
• "League of Denial" creators discuss concussion crisis
• NFL Week 6 picks: Good bets on bad teams | Watchability
• Can the Ravens rattle Aaron Rodgers?
• NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs and Colts climbing
• Bois: The Quarterback Internet Hate Index