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Report: 4th Gronk surgery looms; 2013 season jeopardized

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Jabaal Sheard

Rob Gronkowski's offseason has taken another turn for the worse, and his 2013 season could, too, it seems. According to the Boston Herald, the Patriots' star tight end must undergo a fourth surgery on his broken left forearm.

This time, a plate that was inserted to stabilize the injuries (he broke it in two separate places on two separate occasions) must be removed to wipe out an infection from a previous surgery. While the other three surgeries were assumed to be routine, this latest one, according to the Herald reports, could put Gronkowski's readiness for the 2013 season in serious jeopardy.

Gronk has been on an antibiotic cycle to try to cure the infection, but doctors fear the infection is lingering. If they determine that the infection has been eliminated, he could have surgery immediately to insert a new plate. But if infected areas remain, they'll have to wait until that clears before operating again, which could delay his recovery and subsequent availability for the regular season.

The Herald report says 10 weeks of recovery are normally needed for such a procedure.

Gronkowski first broke one part of his left forearm in a November game against the Colts. He sat out until the playoffs, but early in the first quarter of the Houston game in January, he broke the same arm, in a different location, while making a diving catch along the Patriots sideline.

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