FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski's season might be over.
The star Patriots tight end is having surgery for a herniated disk in his back, a person with knowledge of the details tells The Associated Press. The person spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because the surgery has not yet been announced by the team. The surgery was first reported by the Buffalo News.
He's likely to be out for eight weeks or more. The Super Bowl is scheduled for Houston on Feb. 5, should the Patriots get that far.
Gronkowski sat out practice Wednesday with what listed as a back injury. He was absent from practice again on Thursday.
The injury is believed to have occurred during the Patriots' loss to the Seahawks on Nov. 13, in which Gronkowski said he received "probably one of the hardest I've got hit in my career" from safety Earl Thomas.
Gronk sat out the following week against San Francisco. He played part of the first half last week in New England's win over the New York Jets, but did not make a reception.
Gronkowski has missed three games this season. He has 25 catches for 540 yards and three touchdowns. He's also dealt with a hamstring injury in 2016.
The 2014 Comeback Player of the Year, Gronkowski's career has been plagued by injuries. A second-round draft pick in 2010, he has had ankle and knee surgery once, and three operations on his forearm.
He has missed 20 games in his career and played many others while not 100 per cent.
Gronkowski is a three-time All-Pro.