It’s no secret to fantasy owners that the Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has pretty much been down and out since he broke his arm on a meaningless special teams play during Week 11 against the Colts last year. Gronk has endured four surgeries on the broken arm since last November and most recently needed back surgery to repair a herniated disc on June 18th.
The timetable for recovery after a surgery of this nature is 12-16 weeks. The Patriots will open their season exactly 12 weeks after his surgery date, which realistically leaves Gronkowski on the outside looking in. The question now plaguing Patriots Nation is whether or not he will be able to avoid opening the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. This would force him to miss the Patriots first 6 games of the season.
Gronkowski is currently on the Patriots’ active/PUP list and can come off of this list anytime before Aug. 31st. If the team feels he’s not healthy enough to return by then, he would be left off of the active roster to begin the season and placed on the PUP list.
While placing Gronk on the PUP is obviously the worst case scenario for the team and fantasy owners alike, reports coming out of New England point to this scenario being avoided. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, says he’s getting a “positive buzz” from the team and has reported that Gronkowski is likely to start the regular season on the active roster.
Stunningly, Gronkowski is still the #2 ranked tight end coming into this fantasy football season. Despite the risks, fantasy owners are throwing caution to the wind and drafting him right behind Jimmy Graham.
The problem is that no one, not even Gronkowski, knows how all of this will play out and when he might actually take the field again.