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Rob Gronkowski's fourth arm surgery to be next week

Rob Gronkowski is heading back to the operating table.'s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday on "NFL Total Access" that the New England Patriots tight end's fourth arm surgery is imminent, according to two sources informed of Gronkowski's prognosis. Doctors will examine Gronkowski's forearm Monday to see if the infection in it has persisted.

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Gronkowski had X-rays taken Wednesday as a precursor to surgery, and's Albert Breer reported that Dr. Jesse Jupiter, one of America's top fracture surgeons, is set to perform the operation next week at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews was consulted in the case.

The Patriots expect Gronkowski to be ready for training camp, but they won't have a true idea on his timetable until the plate in his arm is replaced.

If the infection has cleared -- Gronkowski has been on antibiotics -- no more surgeries likely will be needed. If not, Rapoport reports there almost certainly will be a fifth surgery that would make it unlikely he'd be ready for training camp in July.

In other words, the Patriots are holding their breath. One more setback -- and there already have been a few -- and the Patriots will have every reason for legitimate concern about Gronkowski.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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