(Reuters) – New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss the rest of the season after tests on Monday showed he had a torn ligaments in his right knee during Sunday’s win against the Browns, official website nfl.com reported.
Gronkowski, one of the most dynamic tight ends in the National Football League, will be placed on season-ending injured reserve and undergo additional tests to check for further damage, the website said.
The loss of Gronkowski is a big blow to the offense of the Patriots, the AFC East leaders who improved to 10-3 with their 27-26 come from behind victory over Cleveland and are in the hunt for the second seed position in the conference playoffs.
Two-time Pro Bowler Gronkowski, 24, was injured after he caught a third-quarter pass from quarterback Tom Brady and was downed on a diving tackle by Browns defensive back T.J. Ward, whose helmet appeared to hit Gronkowski directly on the knee.
Gronkowski was carted off the field.
“We love him, he’s a big part of this team,” Brady said about Gronkowski.
It hurts to see any of those guys go down, so certainly with Gronk and we’ve sustained some pretty big injuries this year with really important, critical players. So we’ve just got to keep bouncing back.
I think we all feel sorry for Rob, added Brady. We’re with him and we support him.
Gronkowski missed the first six games of the season as he recovered from offseason surgeries on his arm and back that ended his 2012 season early. He had 39 receptions for 592 yards and four touchdowns in seven games this year.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Justin Palmer)