New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL and MCL in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns. Gronkowski was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
In addition to the sustained knee damage, Gronkowski also suffered a concussion on a tackle in which Browns safety T.J. Ward delivered a direct hit to his knee. The monstrous tight end was writhing in visible pain on the Gillette Stadium turf before being carted off by the training staff.
The Patriots resigned tight end D.J. Williams to compensate for the major loss. Given the injury to Michael Hoomanawanui, the only other healthy tight end on the roster is Matthew Mulligan. Brining back Williams was an obvious must.
Shane Vereen spoke about moving forward without Gronkowski, saying, “We’re all going to have to step up, we’re all going to have to take on bigger roles.”
Despite being forced to move forward without his favorite target, Tom Brady isn’t panicking nor is worried about moving the offense forward. Brady simply said, “You just have to find a different formula.”
Ward’s hit on Gronkowski was indeed a highly questionable one, but it was within the rules and he defended himself by explaining his reasoning for targeting him low on Monday. Ward stressed the only reason he made such a play was to avoid a probable fine if he were go in high for the take down. “My intention is never to hurt anyone,” Ward said.
With Gronkowski in the lineup, the Patriots were scoring enough points to place them at number two in league during the six games he did participate in. Only time will tell who is going to step up and more importantly whether or not his presence can at least be somewhat replaced.
In the six games, Gronkowski hauled in 37 balls for 560 yards. He found pay dirt on four separate occasions.
The ACL injury will require surgery that comes hand-in-hand with a 6-7 month recovery period, though the swelling in the knee must subside prior to beginning treatment.