Many New England Patriots fans feared the worst when tight end Rob Gronkowski went down with a bad-looking knee injury during the 30-24 loss last night to the Denver Broncos, but all may not be as bad as it seems.
The high-profile playmaker left the game late in the fourth quarter when he was taken out at the knee by Broncos defensive back Darian Stewart on an incomplete pass. Prior to that, he had six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown.
As soon as he hit the turf, Gronkowski held his knee in pain. He had to be carted off to the locker room and he did not return to the field.
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The Patriots at this point already had several key members of the passing offense sidelined entering this game, including, left tackle Nate Solder, running back Dion Lewis, and wide receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. The tight end would only add to their problems.
However, the loss of the undefeated record might be the worst thing to come out of Sunday's game, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has reported Gronkowski's injury might not be as bad as it seems, meaning his might not be over, but more tests will be done today in order to clarify the situation.
His touchdown last night meant he surpassed Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe for the most career receiving touchdowns by a tight end. Across 11 games this season, he has had 57 receptions for 931 yards and nine touchdowns.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hopes his record-breaking playmaker can return to the field soon, but he does not think it was a dirty hit, according to ESPN.
He said: "I hate to see it, but it really is the only way defenders can hit now. I bet if you asked the players, they would really rather go high than low. I don't think it's dirty. I just think that is how football is played now."