The Patriots struggled without Rob Gronkowski at the beginning of the season, then caught fire when he was finally healthy.
All of New England understands the ramifications of Gronkowski's latest injury, which looked awful.
With 8:27 left in the third quarter and the Patriots trailing Cleveland 12-0, Gronkowski was hauling in a pass when he was hit low by Browns safety T.J. Ward. He dropped the ball and immediately clutched his right leg in pain. He stayed down until the cart came out to take him off the field. He didn't put any weight on his right leg as he got on the cart.
Multiple reports said that the initial diagnosis is a torn ACL for Gronkowski. That would end his season.
Source says Rob Gronkowski suffered what's believed to be a torn ACL. MRI tomorrow to confirm. Not surprising but another bad break for him.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 8, 2013
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is believed to have a torn ACL, per source. MRI to confirm tomorrow.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 8, 2013
Ward's low hit is the exact type of hit that offensive players have complained and worried about. Those type of hits might become more prevalent with the emphasis on taking high hits out of the game.
On the play after Gronkowski's injury, Tom Brady lost a fumble as he was being sacked. That might be a sign of things to come.
If Gronkowski is out for a while it could change the entire AFC playoff picture. The Broncos would become the clear favorite. The Bengals would still be alive to catch the Patriots and get the second seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
The Patriots just haven't been the same without Gronkowski. The team will wait and see if they can get him back at some point this season.
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