Rob Gronkowski suffered what he described as maybe the biggest hit of his career at the hands of Seattle safety Earl Thomas in the second quarter of Sunday night's loss to the Seahawks.
Though Gronkowksi missed just five snaps after the massive collision, and even made a key catch in the final minute to give the Patriots four chances at the goal line to try to tie the game, NFL Network reported on Monday that the All-Pro tight end suffered a punctured lung on the hit.
Gronkowski talked about Thomas' hit late Sunday night, just minutes after Tom Brady's final throw of the day fell incomplete in the tight end's direction in the left corner of the end zone.
"That was a big hit for sure. Probably one of the hardest I've got hit in my career for sure. By a good player; a good fast player who's like a missile," Gronkowski said. "It was a good, clean hit; nothing against it. I just took it and it just knocked the wind out of me a little bit, that's all. If you've ever gotten the wind knocked out of you, you know what that feels like. Just down for about a minute or two, it's a little tough to breath, but once it comes back, you're good."
Apparently, though, Gronkowski is not all good at this point. The Patriots travel to San Francisco this Sunday to take on the 49ers.
Gronkowski finished the Seahawks game with three catches for 56 yards, including the pretty 26-yard catch over his shoulder to give New England a chance at the goal line. Despite a slow start to the season due to a hamstring injury suffered in training camp practice, Gronkowski is fourth on the Patriots with 25 catches for 540 yards with three touchdowns and a crazy 21.6-yard average this season.
If Gronkowski does indeed miss time New England could lean more on Martellus Bennett, who has dealt with an ankle injury but notched his third 100-yard game of the season on Sunday with seven catches for 102 yards against the Seahawks. The only other tight end on the roster at this point is Matt Lengel, recently signed off the Bengals practice squad.