Rosenhaus said that Gronkowski has been suffering from a “lingering” back injury – a herniated disk – that he played through for all of the 2012 season. Gronkowski played the first 11 games of the regular season before breaking his left forearm, catching 55 passes for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Rosenhaus also confirmed that the injury is not on the same disk that Gronkowski herniated in 2009 at Arizona, which forced him to miss the entire season. He has not missed any time in the NFL due to that previous injury.
“It’s not a serious back surgery,” Rosenhaus told WQAM 560-AM in South Florida. “This is a new injury, and it’s minor, it’s not as significant. … I don’t think it’s a big deal, I think it’s more preventative maintenance than anything else. It’s something that, although he needs it, he’s had it for awhile and he’s been able to function.”
Gronkowski is likely to have a “microdiscectomy” in mid-June to repair the disk, and the typical recovery time is approximately 12 weeks. Gronkowski might miss time in the regular season -- potentially the first six games if the Patriots place him on the physically unable to perform list -- but Rosenhaus said it made sense for Gronkowski to have back surgery now while he’s also recovering from his latest forearm surgery last week, which could take 10 weeks or more.
“The recovery will be very comparable to the amount of time he would’ve missed for the arm surgery, so why not get it done now so that when he is healthy, he’s 100 percent and he doesn’t have to address the back down the road?” Rosenhaus said. “The bottom line is Rob had a successful forearm operation last Monday. I was there in Boston with him, everything went very well, and he’s doing so well now that he can afford to get back surgery.”
“I use the cliché, 'We're killing two birds with one stone' by getting the back done while he's out and recovering with his arm, because he really can’t do much right now anyway.”