12/09 16:35 CST Patriots put TE Gronkowski on IR with knee injury
Patriots put TE Gronkowski on IR with knee injury
By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- The New England Patriots placed tight end Rob
Gronkowski on injured reserve Monday with a damaged right knee.
Gronkowski was hurt midway through the third quarter of the Patriots' 27-26 win
over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday when he was hit on the knee by safety T.J.
Ward after a 21-yard reception.
Gronkowski missed the first six games this season after forearm and back
surgeries and the Patriots went 5-1. In the next six games, he led all NFL
tight ends with 37 catches and 560 yards receiving. They were 4-2 in those
games, but the offense was much more productive.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday that experience without Gronkowski
"I'd like to think there's going to be some carry-over there, not only (from)
the first six weeks of the season, but the entire training camp as well," he
said. "That's the way we practiced and played most of the year, including the
preseason games and that's what, 10 games? So, it was great to have him back
and he was, obviously, a big contributor for us."
Gronkowski caught touchdown passes in the last four games. On Sunday, he had
two catches for 32 yards.
Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL and damaged MCL, a person familiar with the
injury said Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team
did not release those details.
Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski said Monday he didn't know whether Ward's hit on
Gronkowski resulted from a reluctance to hit a player high and possibly incur a
fine for helmet-first contact.
"From my vantage point, I think he was trying to get Gronkowski down on the
ground," Chudzinski said. "A big guy coming at you that way is tough to get on
the ground, so I don't know that it has to do with the rules other than trying
to get the guy on the ground. Certainly, we feel terrible about that (injury).
He's a great player, and (we) hope that he has a speedy recovery."
The Patriots signed tight end D.J. Williams to the 53-man roster.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org