Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will undergo back surgery Friday, and the team does not expect him to return this season.
While a joint statement by the team and the Gronkowski family didn't specify the nature of the back injury, it noted Gronk suffered a lung contusion in the Nov. 13 game against the Seattle Seahawks. After a hit in this week's Jets game, the statement said he left with significant back and leg pain.
ESPN's Adam Schefter and others reported that the surgery is for a herniated disc.
"It's not just back pain," said Dr. Christopher Bono, Chief of the Orthopedic Spine Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It's usually pain that radiates from the buttock on down to the leg. It can be horrible."
Various reports said Gronk could be out of action for six to eight weeks. But the team and the player's family gave a grimmer timeline.
"We do not expect that he will be able to play for the remainder of the 2016 season, but will await the results of tomorrow's surgery before making a final determination," the statement read.
This is the third time Gronkowski has had back surgery since 2009. He has also had four forearm surgeries, knee surgery, and ankle surgery.
Here is a breakdown of Gronkowski's injuries that involved surgery:
2009 Herniated disk surgery while in college at Arizona
2012 Broken forearm initially vs Colts in November while blocking on an extra point. Missed time until playoffs, and came back and re-aggravated the injury in the playoffs against Houston (January of 2013). Missed rest of playoffs. Ultimately he had FOUR forearm surgeries between 2012-2013
2013 Had Back surgery in offseason
2013 Tore ACL/MCL vs Browns in December. Had surgery. Missed rest of season (including playoffs)
2016 Will undergo back surgery Friday (Will be his 3rd back surgery (2009, 2013)
"We are deeply saddened any time a player is lost to injury," the joint statement said. "We are committed to assisting Rob throughout his recovery and look forward to his returning to play football for the New England Patriots."