There will be a fourth surgery for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
A league source said Thursday night the infection that has plagued Gronkowski’s left arm for a couple of months has likely cleared, and he will have the plate in his arm replaced.
NFL Network reported that surgery has been scheduled for next week at Mass General Hospital by orthopedic surgeon Jesse Jupiter. According to the MGH website, Jupiter specializes in the care of traumatic and reconstructive problems of the upper limbs, including fracture healing and failure to heal.
The network also reported that Gronkowski’s team consulted with noted orthopedist James Andrews recently.
Gronkowski is scheduled to wrap up his most recent course of antibiotics in a matter of days; a league source said this month that if doctors felt the infection had sufficiently cleared up, they would take the step of replacing the plate.
Another surgery means a restart of the rehab clock for Gronkowski; Patriots’ training camp is scheduled to begin in about 10 weeks.
This situation goes back six months, to Nov. 18, when Gronkowski broke his arm late in the Patriots’ win over Indianapolis.
But after the surgery to install the initial plate and missing several games, Gronkowski played sparingly in the regular-season finale, then started in the AFC Divisional round against Houston, only to break the arm again diving for a first-quarter pass, this time just past the spot where the plate ended, closer to his elbow.
That brought about surgery No. 2; the third procedure was in late February to clean up the infection that had developed.