Dec 8 2013, 6:48pm CST | by Poch de la Rosa
"Gronkowski caught a 21-yard pass up the left seam but took a wicked hit to the right leg by safety T.J. Ward. It appeared Gronkowski's knee bent in an awkward direction because of the hit, and he couldn't put any weight on his leg as he was assisted to the cart. Gronkowski took the ride to the locker room with team doctor Thomas Gill.
"The Patriots officially called it a leg injury.
"The mood at the stadium was as dire as one would expect. Matthew Slater even walked over from the far sideline to kneel down to pray as Gronkowski was lying on the ground. Ward then slapped Gronkowski's hand before the tight end was taken to the locker room."
ESPN Boston quoted Patriots head coach Bill Belichik, who said his star tight end was taken to the hospital. He said,"Rob was taken to the hospital for observation and evaluation of his injury. That's all I have on it."
Ward said he never intended to hurt Gronkowski on the play, the ESPN report emphasized.
"It was a decision I made just to make a tackle on a big man and unfortunately he got hurt, but if I would've hit up high, there's a chance I would get fined and all that other stuff. I'm just being safe.
"My intention is never to hurt anyone. That's not what this game is about. That's not how I play, I hate to see guys go down with any type of injury and I just wanted him to know, whether he accepted it or not, it wasn't an intentional hit to injure him. But we have to play this game, we have to play it the way they force us to, and unfortunately, we incurred an injury for him."
New England quarterback Tom Brady also chimed in when he was interviewed by CBS Boston.
"I don't know what the circumstances are but we're all there with him. We love him, he's a big part of this team. It hurts to see any of those guys go down, so certainly with Gronk and we've sustained some pretty big injuries this year with really important, critical players.
So we've just got to keep bouncing back. I always say that no one feels sorry for the Patriots, but I think we all feel sorry for Rob. But I don't think anybody feels sorry for the Patriots. But we're with him and we support him."
The reported ACL tear is the most recent Gronkowski has suffered in the last two seasons. He underwent high ankle sprain surgery after the Patriots lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, Lowe says. He also had four surgeries for his broken left forearm last year and another surgery for his back which caused him to sit out the first six games of the current season.
Prior to his latest injury, Gronkowski amassed 560 yards on 62 receptions and hauled in four touchdowns, per ESPN stats.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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