Back in Week 11 of the NFL regular season, All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots suffered a broken arm in the win over the Indianapolis Colts. The injury kept arguably the best tight end in the league off the field for the next five games until his return in the regular-season finale for the Patriots against the division rival Miami Dolphins.
Against the Dolphins, Gronkowski appeared to be back to form and ready for the Patriots’ postseason. As Tom Brady’s favorite target in the red zone, Gronkowski’s presence on the field was important to the team’s success moving forward.
Unfortunately, Gronkowski wasn’t has healthy as anticipated with the perennial Pro Bowler re-injuring his arm in the playoff win against the Houston Texans. As a result, Gronkowski was sidelined with the injury once again and officially out of the rest of the playoffs due to season-ending surgery on the re-injured arm.
Following the announcement of Gronkowski missing the rest of the postseason for the Patriots, many wondered if Gronkowski returned to action too soon. Although that appears to be the case, Gronkowski feels differently via Jerry Spar of WEEI.com:
“I couldn’t really tell you if it was healed or not. It felt good,” he said. “Just going into the playoff game I felt ready, I felt confident about it. Like I said, it was just a freak accident. It didn’t go the way I planned. It broke in a different spot. It just happened. Obviously I wasn’t planning on that.”
Regardless of whether or not Gronkowski came back prematurely, the Patriots were able to come within one game of returning to the Super Bowl with tight end Aaron Hernandez helping shoulder the load at the position.
Despite losing the eventual AFC champion Baltimore Ravens, there’s no telling if Gronkowski’s presence on the field for New England would have been the difference between advancing to a second straight Super Bowl or being knocked out by the Ravens.