New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on Thursday discussed suffering two breaks to his left forearm, confirming what seemed obvious to the casual observer: He was never fully comfortable upon his return to the field in the regular-season finale Dec. 30 after the first break.
"I really wasn't that confident, obviously, going in because obviously I was using one hand, as you could see," Gronkowski said in an interview on Boston sports radio WEEI's "Mut and Merloni" program Thursday. "I was just getting used to it and getting into the flow of the game again. It was good to get the speed (of the game) down, and all that, and be prepared going into the playoffs."
Gronkowski, who played 25 offensive snaps in that game, had been medically cleared by team doctor Thomas Gill. In the next game on Jan. 13, the divisional-round playoff win over the Texans, Gronkowski broke the forearm again on the seventh offensive snap after catching a ball out of bounds and falling to the turf.
"Right when I landed, I was in (deep) pain and I knew there was something wrong right when it hit," Gronkowski said. "I just wasn't sure exactly what it was. Sometimes you get a stinger, sometimes you get a charley horse and they go away after a few minutes. It hurt real bad, real quick, for like two minutes. I was just hoping it was that, a quick stinger. ... But the pain wasn't going away and obviously it broke. It wasn't the way I wanted to go out."
Gronkowski -- who confirmed that he initially broke the forearm while blocking on an extra point Nov. 18 against the Colts in what he described as a freak accident -- said he didn't have thoughts about not playing in the regular-season finale.
"If the doctors didn't clear me, and they decided it wasn't smart playing, I wouldn't have. But the doctors cleared me and said I was good to go. Obviously I want to be out there whenever I can get out there," he said. "Right when they said I was cleared, I was definitely ready to go."
Asked if there was a concern with the injury two weeks later heading into the divisional round of the playoffs, Gronkowski said: "It felt good. Going into the playoff game, I felt ready. I felt confident about it. Like I said, it was just a freak accident and didn't go the way I planned. It broke in a different spot."
Gronkowski, whose arm is still in a long cast, said his arm feels "all right" and noted that he has a lot of time to heal and there is no rush. He said the goal is to be 100 percent by the time camp starts.
"We have like 25 weeks or something before the start of camp," Gronk said on "SportsCenter". "Just taking my time, rehab, get it stronger, do everything I need to do. Work my muscles, start lifting again when I can do everything. Basically, just taking my time, get 100 percent and I'll be ready for next year for sure."