This much is known: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will have a fourth surgery on his left forearm in the coming days to determine if the infection that has plagued it the past couple of months is finally gone, and if that is the case, to again replace the plate that has been placed over his ulna.
A league source said Thursday night that the belief is the infection is completely cleared up.
But there might be another problem to address: on Friday, the league source said Gronkowski has been having back issues since last season.
The USA Today reported that the problem is with a disk, and the issue may require surgery. Gronkowski recently had an MRI on his back. to check on the injury
The disk bothering him now is not the same one that required surgery in 2009 and caused Gronkowski to miss his junior season at Arizona. Despite not playing that fall, he entered the NFL draft and slipped to the second round.
If he needs back surgery, the USA Today reported, Gronkowski would recover in the same time frame as he was recovering from the arm procedure.
The source told the Globe that Gronkowski’s left arm will be dealt with first, and then the team and medical staff will address his back.
Gronkowski’s forearm surgery will be done at Mass General Hospital, with multiple reports saying Dr. Jesse Jupiter will perform the procedure.
According to the hospital’s website, Jupiter specializes in the care of traumatic and reconstructive problems of the upper limbs, including fracture healing and failure to heal.
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The Patriots announced that second-round pick Jamie Collins, who was the first player they drafted this year after trading out of the first round, has signed his contract.
Under the rookie salary-slotting system — Collins was the 52d overall pick — his deal has a total value of around $3.76 million, with a signing bonus of $1.1 million.
The 23-year-old Collins, listed at 6 feet 3 inches and 250 pounds, moved from safety to linebacker to 4-3 defensive end during his time at Southern Mississippi, and his play caught scouts’ eyes even as the Golden Eagles plodded through a winless season last fall.
Collins is the fourth of New England’s seven draft picks to sign. Rookie contracts for NFL draft picks run for four years.Shalise Manza Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @shalisemyoung.