New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is going to need a fourth surgery to replace the plate in his left foreman, the Boston Herald reported Wednesday.
Gronkowski has battled an infection in the arm since surgery in February and was put on a six-week antiobiotic regimen by doctors with the hope of avoiding another operation.
There were reports last week that Gronkowski had no setbacks during his offseason conditioning program, but the fourth surgery is considered inevitable to replace the plate and examine the tissue around it, a source told the Herald.
The fourth surgery isn't considered a major problem and was expected to replace the plate in the broken bone that he suffered during a game in November.
However, the bigger concern is the possibility of a fifth surgery if the infection has not disappeared. That would prolong his recovery and jeopardize Gronkowski's availability for the start of the 2013 season.
The 23-year-old Gronkowski returned from the initial fracture at the end of last season and then rebroke the arm during the playoffs. He underwent a third surgery on the arm in late February.