Former Patriots Team Doctor Says Gronkowski’s Back Injury Could Actually Be Career-Ending

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Not the type of news Pats fans want to hear.

Patriots all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski was forced to leave Sunday’s game against the New York Jets with a back injury.  Now, rumors starting to swirl.

That injury sidelined Gronk during practice this week and turned out to be worse than expected when it was announced he would miss the remainder of the season.

This newest back surgery will be his third since 2009 and according to former Patriots team doctor Thomas Gill, the prognosis could get that much worse.


While speaking with WBZ in Boston on Thursday:

“There’s a whole saying that we have when we’re evaluating players at the Combine — once a disk, always a disk,” Gill said. “Even when it’s fixed, especially with an offensive lineman, we always downgrade offensive linemen when they’ve had a disk surgery because we know this is going to happen again. If this is the third time that it’s happened, if it’s the same level, as tough a guy as he is, I’m not aware in my 16 years of a player still in the league who has had three disks on one level done.”

In 2013, another doctor spoke about Gronk’s back surgery that year and it paints a picture on why he’s having his third surgery now:

“Offensive and defensive linemen — and Gronk is included, because he does some blocking — are at the greatest risk for developing a poor outcome after this kind of surgery,” said Dr. Wellington Hsu, associate professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “They play the game in a squatting position, and have a lot of force on their back when they hit 300-pound defenders.”

It’s not all bad, as there a ‘reasonable’ chance Gronk will recover from this:  



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