Yesterday we learned that for the sixth time over the past 16 months, a highly skilled man or woman will cut into Rob Gronkowski’s body to fix a problem. Or he’ll draw the short straw and get Dr. Nick. Either way, the total knife cutting count remains the same.
This time, though, he faces back surgery, the second such procedure in this football existence (he missed the entire 2009 season at Arizona). But don’t worry guys, this is a minor back injury, because that exists.
This will shock you: I’m not a professional athlete. However, from the amount of my life I’ve invested into watching football and just sports in general, like you I firmly understand that athletes are not normal humans. Socially, they’re the kind of people who can get a date with Miss Tennessee just by asking questions to random strangers on Twitter. And physically, they’re the kind of people who can recover from usually crushing injuries in freakish, alien-like time to come nine yards short of setting the single-season rushing record.
I get all of that, really. But I still struggle to call any back injury or surgery “minor”. That’s about as insulting as calling a concussion “mild”. Yet here’s Gronk’s agent Drew Rosenhaus during a Miami radio appearance this morning trying to convince us that his client’s injury is just a little boo boo (he’s still good, he’s still good), and he’ll but just fine so we shouldn’t worry at all ever OK thanks:
“This is a new injury and it’s minor, it’s not as significant [as his prior back injury],” Rosenhaus said. “I don’t think it’s a big deal, I think it’s more preventive maintenance than anything else. It’s something that, although he needs it, he’s had it for a while and he’s been able to function.”
Tell us more…
“This is a lingering problem that Rob’s had for a while that’s he’s been playing with, actually through all of last season,” Rosenhaus said. “The recovery will be very comparable to the amount of time he’ll miss with the arm surgery. So why not get it down and make sure when he is healthy he’s 100 percent and doesn’t have to address the back down the road?”
Rosenhaus also added that this injury isn’t the same as the 2009 back problem that led to Gronkowski’s falling draft stock. That’s nice, but two back surgeries of any kind over a four-year period is troubling for a guy who makes his living while taking abuse up the middle.
The problem here is that given Gronkowski’s recent history of breaks that led to more breaks, projecting an accurate recovery time is difficult. Rosenhaus’ optimism could be justified, and everyone’s favorite bye week porn star enthusiast could return to being large and fast on a football field by the middle of training camp, while the world continues in its normal rotation. Or, as the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian projected, he could easily be out until the end of September.
There’s nothing minor about any of that, and there’s a whole lot of unpredictable.