The AFC East champion the New England Patriots defeated the AFC South Champion Houston Texans 41-28 on Sunday to advance to this week’s AFC Championship. However, New England will have to play the AFC Championship game and if they win, the Super Bowl without their All-Pro Rob Gronkowski at tight end.
Gronkowski is one of the best tight ends in the league, but reinjured his forearm on Sunday in only the second offensive series for the Patriots. He tried to catch a pass from quarterback Tom Brady and fell on the forearm. He left the game right away and went to the locker room for treatment. Gronkowski returned to the Patriot sidelines but never re-entered the game.
As the game went on, rumors leaked that the tight end would miss the rest of the postseason and the team announced shortly following the end of the game he indeed had reinjured his forearm and would require surgery to repair it.
Fellow teammate Aaron Hernandez described Gronkowski as a freak of nature, making him nearly impossible to replace. However, Hernandez said his other teammates must and know how to step up in response to adversity.
Two other starting players for the Patriots – fullback Danny Woodhead and lineman Chandler Jones were injured during the game and did not return. Both players will be evaluated on Monday, but their status for this weekend’s game was still unavailable.
The Patriots play the Baltimore Ravens at home in Foxboro, Massachusetts this weekend in the AFC Championship with the winner moving on to take on the NFC champion in New Orleans in the Super Bowl on February 3.