A persistent infection in Rob Gronkowski's left arm could jeopardize his availability for the start of the 2013 season, the Boston Herald reported Sunday.
The infection developed in the New England tight end's broken left forearm after a second plate was inserted to aid the healing process. Gronkowski is currently receiving antibiotic treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Gronkowski initially suffered a broken arm in a Nov. 18 in a game against the Indianapolis Colts. He returned late in the regular season and then rebroke the arm in the Patriots' playoff loss to the Baltimore Colts in January.
After the second break, a new plate was surgically inserted. A third surgery might be needed to eliminate the infection and then a fourth surgery would be done to insert a new plate. A fourth surgery could extend the healing process, which takes 10 weeks, up to the start of the regular season.
NFL.com reported Sunday that doctors are evaluating the next steps and determining if surgery is needed, and, if so, when it would take place. A decision could be a few weeks away. USA Today reported that no surgeries are currently scheduled.
Team medical personnel, doctors, consultants and Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, are expected to meet within a week to set a treatment plan, according to the Herald.
"I'm doing a lot better, definitely," Gronkowski said in March in an interview with ESPN Radio. "Feeling a lot better. My arm is feeling way better than it was during the playoffs and regular season when I broke it."