Citing “multiple sources familiar with the situation,” the Herald said Gronkowski is “battling a stubborn infection” in the area where a second metal plate was installed to fix his broken left forearm.
Doctors plan to remove the plate and install a new one, after which Gronkowski needs 10 weeks of recovery. But if the infection persists, they would not be able to install the plate. Gronkowski would need another procedure after the tissue around the injury is clear of infection, delaying his return.
Gronkowski is nearing the end of a six-week cycle of antibiotics, the paper said.
Gronkowski, his doctors and Patriots officials are expected to meet within a week to determine the next step. But USA Today reported doctors are a few weeks from determining whether the antibiotics will be sufficient.
The game-changing tight end already has undergone three surgeries on the arm, which he broke against the Colts in Week 11 and reinjured against the Texans in the playoffs.
Last week, Gronkowski did not mention any setbacks when discussing his rehab on ESPN's Mike and Mike show.
“The arm is feeling way better than it was during the playoffs, and in the regular season when I broke it,” said Gronkowski, who has generated plenty of headlines this offseason.
“Right now, I'm rehabbing, getting the muscle stronger around it. You want to get everything activated, re-activated, because it shuts down for a little bit when it's healing. ... When my trainers give me the good-to-go, hopefully in the next couple weeks, as soon as possible, I can get rolling again ... doing what I love doing, catching some balls.”