The Patriots announced Thursday they have parted with longtime medical director Dr. Thomas Gill, who has also left his post as chief of sports medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The team said in a statement Gill will focus on his private practice, and will be replaced by Dr. Matt Provencher as part of the team’s relationship with MGH.
“We greatly appreciate the many years of dedicated service and innovation that Dr. Gill provided our team and wish him well in the future,” the Patriots statement said. “We will continue to work with MGH Sports Medicine to provide our medical services and look forward to receiving the level of care and expertise that MGH has been providing the New England Patriots since our team’s inception.”
Gill’s responsibilities included helping and diagnosing players on the field, and performing MRIs, surgeries, and rehabilitation at MGH.
He has been with the Patriots since their championship days, working alongside former team doctor Bert Zarins, and also served as the Red Sox medical director from 2005-11.
Gill was well-liked by most in the Patriots organization and his office walls at MGH were adorned with pictures of him working with many of their players.
But he also ran into a little friction with a few players. Tight end Rob Gronkowski clashed with Gill last year over his fractured forearm; Gronkowski broke his forearm twice in two months, then developed an infection after surgery that forced him to have two subsequent operations. Gronkowski had his fourth and final forearm surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews, and again used Andrews this offseason to repair his torn MCL and ACL.
The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against Gill and asked him to step down last July over the treatment of defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, but the grievance was thrown out and Gill was cleared when it was determined that Fanene concealed a previous shoulder injury.
With the Red Sox, Gill came under fire when Jacoby Ellsbury’s fractured ribs went undiagnosed for several months in 2010. But Gill remained with the team before stepping down after the 2011 season.
Provencher, 43, the Patriots’ new medical director, grew up in Barrington, N.H., and is an alumnus of the US Naval Academy and Dartmouth Medical School. Provencher was appointed chief of the MGH Sports Medicine Service in August, according to a statement from the hospital. He previously served as director of orthopaedic shoulder, knee and sport surgery at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.Follow Ben Volin on Twitter at @BenVolin.