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Report: Rob Gronkowski's 2013 season start in doubt

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is dealing with a "stubborn" infection in his broken left forearm. He had a second plate inserted to repair the left arm, but the infection might keep Gronkowski out for the beginning of the season, the Boston Herald reported Sunday.

Doctors need to replace the current plate in his arm, but they can't do so if the tissue is infected. That would require a surgical procedure around the tissue that equates to a 10-week recovery time, which would put Gronkowski in danger of missing the Patriots' season opener.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, emphasizing that the facts of the Herald's report are accurate, reported Sunday that all options are being considered, according to a source close to Gronkowski. While the facts are not in dispute, Rapoport's source preached caution, saying Gronkowski's camp is deciding what is necessary and when an additional surgery -- if one takes place -- would occur, Rapoport reported. Per Rapoport, that decision should be known in a few weeks.

Gronkowski is near the end of a six-week cycle of antibiotic treatments. Team doctors, officials, outside consultants and Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, are scheduled to meet within a week to discuss a plan of action, according to the Herald, which cited "multiple sources familiar with the situation."

USA Today reported on Sunday that no surgeries currently are scheduled, and that if Gronkowski does require a fourth surgery, "a decision has not yet been made."

This would be an annoying setback for Gronkowski, and definitely not good news for the Patriots.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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