According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, tight end Rob Gronkowski has been battling a stubborn infection in the area around where a second metal plate was installed to repair his broken left forearm and his readiness for the season is in jeopardy.
Gronkowski is nearing the end of a six-week cycle of antibiotic treatments administered under the auspices of Massachusetts General Hospital, but it is not yet assured the infection has been completely eradicated.
Doctors treating Gronkowski will have to go back into the arm again to remove the plate and install a new one, but if they find more infected tissue, they would be unable to install the plate at that time. That would require another surgical procedure after the tissue around the injury is clear of infection and, sources confirmed, that would not give Gronkowski the required 10 weeks healing time to be ready for the season opener in September.
Gronkowski, agent Drew Rosenhaus, team officials, both team physicians and outside consultants are expected to meet within a week to make a determination of what step will be taken next and how quickly to move. All are hopeful the pesky infection has been cured but they cannot be sure until the surgery to remove the old plate and the process to replace it begins.
The way the TE position was shaping up, it was looking like we'd be recommending that fantasy owners draft Gronkowski in the 2nd/3rd rounds, but that strategy is on hold for now as we play the waiting game. Hopefully everything will go smoothly with the next procedure and doctors will find no infected tissue around the plate. We'll just have to wait and see.