Gronkowski suffered what is believed to be a punctured lung in the team’s loss to Seattle on Sunday, sources with knowledge of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Gronkowski is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers because of the injury, Rapoport added.
The Patriots have enviable depth at tight end with Martellus Bennett enjoying a Pro Bowl-caliber season and the schedule works in New England’s favor this. The Patriots are heading to San Francisco to face the 1-9 49ers in Week 11, a game the Patriots should be able to handle without him.
Although it’s unclear when Gronkowski suffered the injury, he missed five plays after taking a big hit from safety Earl Thomas during the game. The tight end was surprisingly at peace with the hit after the game.
“That was a big hit — probably one of the hardest I’ve got hit in my career, for sure,” he said. “By a good, fast player who’s like a missile. It was a good, clean hit. Nothing against it. … It’s a little tough to breathe, but once it comes back, you’re good. He hit me fair and square. It’s football. You’re going to get laid out eventually.”
Gronkowski already had 560 yards on the season despite barely playing until Week 5 when Tom Brady came off suspension. He somehow leads in the league in yards per catch at 21.6 despite being larger than most Rhinoceri. This will be the third time in five seasons Gronk has missed at least three games due to injury.