FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots will face the Baltimore Ravens in next Sunday's AFC Championship game and the right to play in the Super Bowl without all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski, a leading pass receiver, reinjured his previously broken left forearm in Sunday's 41-28 Patriots victory over the Houston Texans in a division playoff game here and has been ruled out for the remainder of postseason.
He suffered the injury while hauling in a deep pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the first quarter of the Houston game, slamming his forearm on the turf in an effort to break his fall. He immediately got up clutching the arm and was taken to the locker room. Teammates said after the game that he rebroke the forearm.
Gronkowski first broke the forearm Nov. 18 while blocking for an extra point in an easy win over the Indianapolis Colts. He was cleared by doctors to return to limited action two weeks ago in the final regular season game with Miami.
Known as "Gronk," he has been one of the Patriots most proficient pass catchers the past two seasons. Last season he injured his ankle in a playoff game and was hampered during the Super Bowl match up with the New York Giants.
"It's a tough break for him and a tough break for our team," said Patriots offensive guard Logan Mankins. "But whoever is put in his spot has to step up and do the job. We're counting on that."