On the Rob Gronkowski problem

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Last night we were delivered news that feels like good news regarding the fate of Rob Gronkowski’s forearm. It was embraced warmly, because we so desperately need and want the best tight end in the land to be healthy, and to be healthy now.

Make no mistake, friends. This is good news. Maybe, and likely.

Gronk’s surgery to replace the plate in his arm has been delayed due to a lingering infection, the same infection that’s raised the fear of our TE messiah possibly missing the start of the 2013 season because it will necessitate yet another surgery. When he goes under the knife next week, the projected recovery time is 10 weeks, which puts him right up against the beginning of training camp in the first week of August.

That’s tight and dangerous, meaning if the infection lingers, he’s screwed for at least the beginning of the regular season. Or if Gronkowski experiences even the slightest setback, he could be screwed too. Remember that this is an injury which has limited his offseason workouts, and that alone is scary enough.

While this is indeed tremendous news, nothing changes here from a fantasy standpoint. At least not yet, and it won’t until mid August. How high you draft a potentially damaged Gronkowski depends on your level of risk tolerance. A healthy Gronk is still the best high-priced buy in any draft, since along with Jimmy Graham and a few others, he’s so far ahead of the rest at his position.

That’s why he’s still worth the second-round investment you’ll have to make, or sometimes he’ll even cost you a late first rounder. The problem is that once you get past the first tier of tight ends, there’s little separation among the rest. So do you want to spend that high price for high production and acquire his injury risk, or invest in one of the, oh, 27 other tight ends that could be the leading scorers at their position on any given week?

We’ll wrestle with that question until late August. If anyone needs me, I’ll be on a dock somewhere with a bottle of some kind.

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