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Gronkowski may have to undergo more surgery

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  April 7, 2013 02:11 PM

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Rob Gronkowski's left arm continues to be a concern for the Patriots and their standout tight end.

The infection that led to Gronkowski undergoing a third surgery on the forearm has lingered, and according to league sources, he could be facing a fourth surgery if it does not clear up in the coming weeks.

If the infection continues, doctors could decide to remove the second plate he had placed in his arm because that could be the cause of the infection - but it is unknown at this point exactly what is causing the infection, one of the sources said.

Things could be further complicated if it is discovered that the infection has spread to other parts of the arm.

The situation is still up in the air, so it is too early to determine if Gronkowski's availabilty for the start of the 2013 season is in jeopardy. If Gronkowski requires further surgery, then that would obviously impact his rehab schedule.

Gronkowski has been at the Patriots facility nearly every day in the past two weeks, staying for up to four hours during his visits.

The trouble started for Gronkowski at the tail end of New England's big win over the Colts last Nov. 18. That is when he initially broke his left forearm and underwent his first surgery to install a plate over the bone.

After missing five games, Gronkowski returned to practice during the week leading up to the Patriots' Week 16 game in Jacksonville, then played a limited role in the regular-season finale against Miami.

When New England began the playoffs in the divisional round against Houston, Gronkowski was in the lineup but didn't play for long: trying to rein in a sideline pass early in the game, he braced his fall with that left arm and it broke again, this time just past the end of the initial metal plate.

A second surgery followed, and then the third to try to clean up the infection.

Gronkowski appeared on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" program on March 27, and gave a positive prognosis when asked about his progress.

"Right now I'm just rehabbing, getting muscles around it stronger, get everything re-activated because it shuts down a little bit when it's healing," he said. "Just rehabbing and when trainers give me 'good to go', hopefully in the next couple of weeks, hopefully as soon as possible so I can get rolling again, get back in the weight room, get back on the field and do what I love doing, running around catching some balls."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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