The worst nightmare of every New England Patriots fan was realized Sunday night as Rob Gronkowskiwrithed in pain on the turf in Denver.
Luckily, the tight end's knee injury looked worse than the damage caused.
Gronkowski has a minor knee strain and will miss at most one week, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source.
Thank the football gods!
With the Patriots already losing Dion Lewis (ACL) for the season, Julian Edelman (foot) for the regular season and Danny Amendola (knee) for an unknown amount of time, Tom Brady couldn't afford to lose Gronk, too.
Brady might get along with a patchwork wide receiver group, but he can't survive long without Gronkowski. The tight end has been the linchpin to the Pats' offense. In NFL Network's "Do Your Job" documentary on the Patriots, Bill Belichick admitted that one big difference between the Patriots' recent playoff successes and their past failures was the health of Gronk.
Luckily, they shouldn't have to go through January without their touchdown-machine.
UPDATE: The Patriots and the Gronkowski family released a joint statement Tuesday regarding Gronkowski's injury, describing it as a bone bruise / sprain:
"During Sunday night's game, Rob Gronkowski sustained a bone bruise/sprain of his right knee. His status will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis and listed accordingly on the practice participation and injury reports. There is no timetable for his readiness to return, which will be determined in the days or hours prior to the appropriate game. Any timetable reported prior to that final determination would be speculative.