NFL: Injured Gronkowski opts for back surgery, could miss rest of season (AFP)

New England star Rob Gronkowski will have back surgery and is likely to miss the remainder of the NFL regular season, the Patriots said Thursday. The charismatic tight end, a key pillar of the Patriots offense, was injured during last month’s defeat to Seattle when he took a heavy hit to the chest. Several US media outlets said Gronkowski would be sidelined for eight weeks — theoretically making him available during the week of the Super Bowl, if the Patriots reach the NFL showpiece game in February.