On the face of things, this weekend couldn't have gone much better for the New England Patriots. A comfortable victory to get the play-offs started over the Houston Texans, preceded by an upset in the form of the Baltimore Ravens win over the Denver Broncos, meaning another game at Gillette, with everything on the line.

However, there is a big smear on the weekend. When Rob Gronkowski landed on his previously broken forearm on one of the first plays on offense, and his first target. He immediately left the game, and didn't return. Turns out he had broken it again.

The Pats still ran out easy winners. The offense still did the business, with Wes Welker putting up big numbers. But once again, the Patriots will be without their full collection of starters heading into the AFC Championship game. The question that arises is: Was Gronk rushed back?

Well, a similar story came about a week ago, involving the decision to play and keep in Robert Griffin III, with most people saying that if the doctor gave him the go ahead, it's fine. And I agree. If the doctors gave the signal he was good to go, and Gronkowski felt he was good to go, then play him. it's the play-offs, you need your best players. If Gronkowski had said he wasn't ready, then definitely keep him out, but Gronk doesn't seem like the type to pull out of a game as big as this.

The injury happened 8 weeks ago, in week 11 vs the Indianapolis Colts. The approximate recovery was 4-6 weeks. He came back 6 weeks later against the Miami Dolphins, and didn't seem to sustain further damage. I don't think anyone thought this would happen. It was simply a fluke injury. Heck, all of his 265 lbs fell onto a previously broken arm. That would test even the strongest of arms.

Don't sweat this one Pats fans. Sure, Gronk is awesome, he gives us something different to anything in the NFL. But Aaron Hernandez would be a #1 TE in the majority of teams, and the 2 TE system still worked on Sunday, and it's not like the Patriots have struggled for points when Gronk has been out.

Keep the faith. Redemption is still on.

Hit me up on Twitter @BrendanAnnely

Unknown 1/14/2013 03:06:00 PM Edit

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