FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski’s season appears to be over after he hurt his knee when hit after a reception.
The New England Patriots’ star tight end, who missed the first six games recovering from offseason forearm and back surgeries, was injured just before the midpoint of the third quarter Sunday and driven off the field on a cart.
Gronkowski suffered a suspected torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is expected to undergo an MRI today. Coach Bill Belichick said he was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
The Patriots beat the Cleveland Browns, 27-26, on Tom Brady’s two touchdown passes in the last 61 seconds.
“We’ve sustained some pretty big injuries this year with really important, critical players,” Brady said. “I think we all feel sorry for Rob, but I don’t think anyone feels sorry for the Patriots.”
Gronkowski raised his right arm to the crowd as he left on the cart with team physician Dr. Thomas Gill next to him.
Gronkowski was hurt on a hit by Browns safety T.J. Ward after a 21-yard reception with the Browns leading, 12-0. Ward was among many players from both teams who went up to Gronkowski before he left the field.
“My intention is never to hurt anyone. That’s not what this game is about,” Ward said. “I hate to see guys go down with any type of injury. I just wanted him to know, whether he accepted it or not, it wasn’t intentional to injure him. But we have to play this game. We have to play it the way that they force us to, and unfortunately, it incurred an injury for him.”
Ward said if he hit Gronkowski high, there was a chance he might be fined.