Rob Gronkowski will undergo surgery in June on his back, and agent Drew Rosenhaus said it's an injury the New England Patriots tight end played through last season.
This will be the fifth surgery for Gronkowski since November. He had a fourth operation on May 20 to install a plate in his broken left forearm that he fractured in November. Rosenhaus said the back procedure is a pre-emptive measure to make sure Gronkowski is fully healthy once his forearm heals.
"He's doing so well now that he can afford to get back surgery," Rosenhaus told Joe Rose on WQAM radio in Miami. "This is a lingering problem that Rob's had for a while that he's been playing with, actually through all of last season. Now that he's out with the arm for an extended period of time, it makes sense. It's something that'd he'd eventually have to do. "The recovery will be very comparable to the amount of time he'll miss with the arm surgery. So why not get it done now and make sure when he is healthy he's 100 percent and doesn't have to address the back down the road?
"To use the cliche, we're killing two birds with one stone."
Gronkowski had back surgery while at the University of Arizona, costing him his senior season and effectively dropping him to a second-round draft pick.
"In Rob's case, (this is not) a serious back injury," Rosenhaus said. "It's unrelated to the original surgery that he had as a junior in college. That's totally recovered perfectly. This is a new injury and it's minor. It's not as significant. The recovery time will be consistent with the time he'll be out anyway."
Aaron Hernandez and Jake Ballard, who was claimed off waivers from the New York Giants, are expected to step up and fill the void while Gronkowski recovers.