Gronkowski broke his left arm late in the Patriots' win over Indianapolis in November, and returned to game play for the regular-season finale against Miami. Even though it was clear that he was favoring the arm in that game, Gronkowski insisted that he did not come back too early.
"No, definitely not. The doctors cleared me and as a player you want to be out there for every game, and definitely donít believe I came back too early it was just a freak accident," he said. "Itís very frustrating when that happens too. I just think that you canít really do anything about it."
No sooner did he come back did Gronkowski injure the same arm: in the Patriots' Divisional-round win over Houston, Gronkowski dove out of bounds trying to catch a pass and landed right on the arm. This time his fracture was just beyond the end of the metal plate that had been surgically placed after the first injury.
"Just the way I landed on it and how it broke soÖjust a freak thing, like I said Ė how the first one broke, how the second one broke, and the only thing it does is frustrate you but now is just the time where Iíve got to rehab it, take my time now, get it 100 percent nso itís ready to go for next season," Gronkowski said.
Asked when he expects to be back on the field, he said, "It [the Patriots' offseason training program] doesnít start for a couple more months so obviously I plan on being healthy within the same time frame as last time. Just gotta rehab, get my muscle strength back up, let the bone heal and obviously my goal is to be 100 percent before the season which I think itís pretty fair to say that I will be."
The recovery time frame for his first fracture was 4 to 6 weeks. But with no games for months, Gronkowski can take his time getting better.
This is the second straight year Gronkowski has had to spend the offseason rehabbing. He does not feel that the injuries are setting him back.
"Not if youíre doing it right and just keep working hard, I believe youíll be the same player if you just keep doing things right," he said.