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Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski will have fourth surgery on forearm next week

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Rob Gronkowski's left forearm will be operated on next week (USA Today Sports Images)

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will have surgery next week to replace a plate in his left forearm, Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network report.

Gronkowsk broke his forearm while blocking on a fourth-quarter extra point attempt in a 59-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 18. Gronkowski underwent surgery to repair that break and would miss five regular season games. Gronkowski broke the same forearm again during a divisional playoff win over the Houston Texans and had surgery in mid-January.

A third procedure took place in February after Gronkowski developed an infection following the second surgery. A fourth procedure to replace the plate in Gronkowski's forearm has been delayed by that infection, which has been treated with a round of antibiotics.

According to report, Gronkowski's forearm will be examined on Monday to determine if the infection has cleared. If it has, Dr. Jesse Jupiter will perform the operation sometime next week at Mass General Hospital in Boston. Gronkowski appears to be in good hands as Dr. Jupiter's bio at the Mass General website states that he "specializes in the care of traumatic and reconstructive problems of the upper limb. These include arthritis, fracture healing and failure to heal, nerve compression and injury, and both pediatric and adult injuries to the upper limb".

Previous reports have Gronkowski needing 11 weeks to recover from a fourth surgery. If the infection has cleared, and the fourth surgery does the trick, Gronkowski would be on schedule to return early in training camp and should be available for the start of the regular season. As Rapoport notes, if the infection has not cleared a fifth procedure, in July, is a possibility, which would jeopardize Gronkowski's availability for the start of the regular season.

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