Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss the remainder of the playoffs after breaking his forearm again, a source apprised of the player's injury told NFL.com's Albert Breer. ProFootballTalk first reported the injury, which will require surgery.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that Gronkowski told friends earlier in the week that he wasn't comfortable with his forearm, which he first broke during a Nov. 18 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Gronkowski had surgery after that injury and didn't return until the Patriots' Dec. 30 regular-season finale.
Gronkowski's injury is a difficult blow for a Patriots team that also lost running back Danny Woodhead (thumb) and defensive end Chandler Jones (ankle) on Sunday. Both players were called questionable to return, but they never saw the field again.
Gronkowski's absence will be the most difficult to overcome. He is the second most valuable player on the Patriots' offense because of his ferocious blocking and receiving ability. Combined with fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez, Gronkowski presents matchup nightmares for opponents.
Losing the game's best tight end would be a crippling blow to most squads, but it's not like the Patriots' offense struggled without him earlier in the season. They averaged 36 points per game -- just above their season average -- in the five contests Gronkowski missed.
With Gronkowski out, Hernandez, Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd become even more important parts of the Patriots' offense. If Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are going to win their fourth Super Bowl title, it will happen without the president of Gronk Nation.
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