The broken forearm that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski reportedly suffered Sunday could present several complications for the All-Pro receiver, according to an Exeter sports doctor.
ESPN.com reported Gronkowski broke his forearm while blocking for an extra point in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' 59-24 romp over the Indianapolis Colts. Gronkowski had surgery Monday, according to ESPN.
Gronkowski told people he would be out four to six weeks, according to NFL.com.
Dr. Josh Siegel of Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics, which is headquartered in Exeter, has dealt with forearm fractures in athletes.
He said it's a tough injury for Gronkowski–especially at this point in the season. The tight end would be on track to return before the start of the playoffs Jan. 5.
If he does, he'll probably be wearing a cast, Siegel said.
The forearm has two bones–the ulna and the radius. It's unclear which one Gronkowski broke–or if he broke both.
The ulna is typically broken during a direct hit to the forearm, Siegel said. The common name for such an injury is a "nightstick fracture," which get its name from a criminal using the forearm to block the impact of a police officer swinging a nightstick.
The radius is typically broken when they forearm experiences an extreme twisting motion, according to Siegel.
Siegel said a plate and screws are typically inserted in the forearm during surgery to secure the bones. They usually stay in for up to one year.
Siegel said one complicating factor is ligaments in the wrist and elbow could get stretched or torn, making for a longer recovery.
Siegel said it generally takes athletes about six weeks to recover enough from a forearm fracture to get back in action.