Rob Gronkowski will more than likely not be ready when the New England Patriots start their season at Buffalo on Sept. 8. According to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter on August 19, the 24-year-old tight end is still recovering from multiple off-season surgeries including a minor back operation just before players reported to camp.
Gronkowski had four surgeries on his left forearm prior to the back surgery and the team wants to make sure he is fully healed before playing. Gronkowski reinjured the forearm in the Patriots first playoff game against the Houston Texans.
Although Gronkowski is making progress, a source told ESPN that it would be a "huge stretch" for the Pro-bowl tight end to be ready. The Patriots, in the meantime, have had to adjust to life without both Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on the field. Tom Brady may have found a new weapon in undrafted free agent Zach Sudfield. The team also has veteran tight ends in Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells on the roster.
The Patriots will have to make a decision on whether or not to carry Gronkowski on the 53-man roster or place him on the physically unable to perform list. Whatever decision they make will be in the best interest of the team. In any event, a healthy Gronkowski on the field at some point in the season will be better than the risk of losing him for the entire season by rushing him back before he is completely healed.