It’s amazing what a hooked field goal attempt can do for the tenor of conversation.
Instead of spending the past two days beating up Bill Belichick for his timeout strategy or wondering why the Patriots didn’t do something – ANYTHING – to stop Larry Fitzgerald (all the while ignoring that it was Larry Friggin’ Fitzgerald), the region’s been basking in the afterglow of Diamond Jimmy’s Wondrous Debut.
But Wednesday in the NFL is page-flipping day and, as we get on to Miami, Hammy Watch returns.
Rob Gronkowski, as you may have noticed, missed the opener. He didn’t even make the Friday plane to Arizona because of a tender hamstring, meaning that the kind of injury that’s often day-to-day and still had 48 hours to be treated and tested was balky enough to not even make the attempt.
Gronk came up lame during joint practices with the Chicago Bears on August 15. The 30-day anniversary of the injury is Wednesday.
And it logically follows that Gronk’s statement from last December that he wouldn’t return to play until he was “100 percent” must still be in effect.
It’s absolutely fair to wonder what the hell the deal is. Unless the injury was severe – and given Gronk walked off the field that day rather than going down like a wounded Patrick Pass - it sure didn’t seem like something that was going to keep him down for a month and cause him to miss regular season games. But it’s already cost him one.
Gronk is pretty well insulated when it comes to taking heat for his annual physical maladies.
He came into the league with a bad back that’s already been operated on at least once while he’s been a pro. And that surgery, which came in June of 2013, was performed after he snapped his arm, had a plate inserted, snapped it again, came down with a vicious infection that required a hospital stay and more surgeries.
After a prolonged absence heading into 2013 when Gronk was practiced like a fiend but sat on Sundays, he got his knee destroyed by T.J. Ward on a low hit.
He’s had two careers worth of operations and he’s only 27.
All these guys are their own little corporations but Gronk Inc. is a Fortune 500 outfit and – because of his injury history and the fact his immediate family and representatives know maximizing profit means avoiding unnecessary risk – it’s very likely he’s been told to take care of the physical plant at all costs.
Which means not playing unless he’s 100 percent.
But a month with a hamstring when you got rookie Malcolm Mitchell back in less time from an injury that looked like this when it happened?
Like I said, seems long. Hammy Watch returns today.