According to a report in the Boston Herald, Patriots Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski is "going to need a fourth operation to change the plate that's securing the broken bone in the forearm."
Gronkowski originally broke the left forearm blocking for a PAT late in a victory over the Colts last Nov. 18. He returned for the season finale against the Dolphins, but broke the same forearm two weeks later on a diving reception out of bounds against the Texans.
He had another surgery after the season and has reportedly been dealing with an infection, with treatments including intensive rounds of antibiotics.
The apparent unknown right now is whether the infection has cleared up. But citing a source familiar with the case, the Herald says the fourth surgery "has to happen" and the plate in Gronkowski's forearm has to be replaced "no matter what." At that point the tissue around the plate and bone will be tested for the infection.
The Herald says the question remaining at this point is whether or not Gronkowski will need an eventual fifth surgery on the arm, which would obviously slow the recovery process even more than has already been the case.