For the first time all season, the Jets were on the right side of the injury report with the news tight end Rob Gronkowski had surgery yesterday and will be sidelined when the Patriots come to visit Thursday night.
Gronkowski broke his forearm late in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ blowout win over the Colts on Sunday afternoon. Not only did Grownkowski not need to be in the game with it already settled, but the broken arm came while blocking for an extra point. The loss of Gronkowski is a huge blow to the Patriots offense.
“Obviously with Gronkowski, he’s a huge target — especially in the red zone,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. “I never like to see anybody get hurt. I’m not sad that he’s missing our game, but I hope he gets back soon.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had to answer as to why one of his star players was still on the field at a point in the game when his team was essentially running up the score. Belichick did his best to dodge the question and perhaps his culpability in the injury. The score had put the Patriots up by five touchdowns with 3:22 left in the game.
“I don’t think there are any quicker ways to lose a game than getting a kick blocked and run back for a touchdown,” Belichick said. “That’s probably one of the quickest ways to put it up in the loss column. It’s an important job. Whoever does it, it’s a very important job in the game.”
The Jets have struggled in the past to stop the massive, 6-foot-5, 265-pound Pro Bowl tight end.
In the Patriots’ Week 9 overtime home victory over the Jets, Gronkowski had nine catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns. He led the team with 10 receiving touchdowns and was second on the roster with 53 catches.
“They have five tight ends on their roster so I don’t know if they will put another guy in that role,” Ryan said. “I’m not sure how they’ll do it. New England is so multiple; it could be four wides, five wides, could be a bunch of tight ends and all that, so we’ll see as the game goes how it affects them.”
Complicating matters is the uncertain status of tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez, who is battling an ankle injury, hasn’t played since the Oct. 21 win over the Jets where he had five catches for 54 yards.
“I don’t know [if he will play]. We’ll have to see how close he is or isn’t to playing,Belichick said. “[We will] probably make a decision later on in the week, maybe even a game-time decision, I don’t know. When we get out to the practice field, we’ll see whether [our injured players are] able to do that or more or less or whatever it is. We’ll take it day by day. I’d definitely put Aaron in the day-by-day category.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.