EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

December 9, 2013

Gronkowski injury leagues season in doubt

Players saddened after star carted off the field

FOXBORO — The comeback was amazing, epic, in fact. The Patriots, seemingly assured a loss, rallied back in stunning fashion to steal one of the most amazing wins in recent memory.

But the atmosphere inside the Patriots’ locker room was noticeably somber following the wild 27-26 win, as the players’ joy was strongly overshadowed by worry and sympathy for the star teammate who had left the stadium long before the comeback, injured All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.

“My heart is broken for Rob,” said special teams ace Matt Slater. “That young man has been through so much in terms of injuries. To see this hurts. It‘s such a sad situation.”

After hauling in a pass from Tom Brady in the third quarter, Gronkowski suffered a massive hit to the right knee from Browns safety T.J. Ward.

Gronkowski, whose knee seemed to hyperextend, crumpled to the ground in obvious pain and remained there for several minutes before he was carted off the field.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick informed the media following the game that Gronkowski was taken from the stadium to the hospital to be examined.

There was no official report other that than it was an injury to his leg, but reports began to circulate following the game that he may have suffered a torn ACL.

“It is like you are in a bad dream,” said Slater, who could be seen kneeling and praying next to Gronkowski as the tight end lay on the turf. “You wake up and hope it wasn’t really happening.”

Unfortunately, the Patriots’ nightmare seems to become a reality yesterday, as their top receiving threat and most dynamic player lay on the back of a golf cart driven off the field.

“He’s the Gronk,” said fullback James Devlin. “It’s so tough to lose a player like him. I am proud of the way we rallied back in his honor, but you hate to see him have to go through this.”

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