Updated at 11:15 a.m. with Gronkowski having surgery this morning
Tight end Rob Gronkowski was still playing with the Patriots up by 35 points late in the game — it’s the Patriot way — and broke his left forearm on an extra-point attempt. He underwent surgery this morning and is expected to require 4-to-8 weeks recovery time.
“I know he got injured, but I obviously didn’t know the extent,” Tom Brady said on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan Show” this morning. “He’s such a great player. It [stinks] that he gets hurt, but it’s part of the game, so he’s got to do his best to get back as soon as possible. We’ve got to go out there and win some games without him.”
Gronk, who had caught passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns Sunday for the NFL’s top-ranked offense, will be tough to replace, given his blocking and playmaking skills. Tight end Aaron Hernandez has been out since Week 7 with an ankle injury but is believed to be nearly ready to play again. The Pats have no time for hand-wringing; they play the New York Jets on Thanksgiving night.
“He does a lot for us,” Brady said of Gronk, who has played on 93 percent of the offense’s snaps. “I think there’s a reason why you have other guys on the roster, too — Visanthe [Shiancoe], Daniel Fells, Hernandez and Hooman [Michael Hoomanawanui] — everyone has to step up with having Gronk out. … No one cares what’s going on with us. We’ve still got to go out there and win. We have some flexibility in what we do. We try to play to the strengths of our players.”
Immediately after Gronkowski’s injury, there was precious little information — which is also the Patriot way. There was no announcement when he left the field, although cameras showed him heading immediately into the locker room. Several hours after the game, there was still no information being given to the media, which may result in a fine for the Patriots (not that they particularly care). The Associated Press story quotes the NFL’s media policy:
“Team personnel are responsible for reporting in-game injury information factually and accurately as soon as possible for the benefit of the network television audience and the other media covering our games.”
“Clubs must ensure that all medical information issued to the media is credible, responsible, and specific in terms that are meaningful to teams, media, and fans,” says the policy, which goes on to remind teams that “the injury reporting policy relates directly to the integrity of the game.”
The Washington Redskins found out earlier this year that there’s a price tag for failing to provide clear information to the media. They were fined $20,000 on Oct. 19 for using the words “shaken up” to describe Robert Griffin III’s concussion. No matter what the Patriots’ omission may cost them, the price won’t be as high as losing Gronkowski for a while.