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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Rob Gronkowski out for season

IOWA CITY — Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski will undergo back surgery and miss the remainder of the season, Wildcats’ head coach Mike Stoops said following Arizona’s 27-17 loss to Iowa Saturday in Iowa City.

The junior injured his back during weight training just a few weeks prior to the season opener against Central Michigan and has been inactive ever since.

“”We just haven’t gotten his back to a point where it would be productive and safe for him to play,”” Stoops said. “”So, it’s been a big blow (having him out). We’ve noticed it in certain areas of the field where we’ve struggled offensively. But that’s football.””

In the absence of Gronkowski – a first-team All-Pacific10 Conference player in 2008 – Arizona’s offense has noticeably lacked in production through the air. Through three games, the Wildcats have only amassed 501 passing yards through three games. Additionally, in the red zone, an area where Gronkowski has notoriously made a large impact, the Wildcats have scored through the air only three times this season.

“”Without (Gronkowski) that’s a big dimension of our offense that we have to do without,”” Foles said. “”He’s a big guy that not a lot of people can cover so (Gronkowski’s absence) is going to hurt.””

Arizona was in need of its big tight end against Iowa when the Wildcats found themselves on the Hawkeyes’ 1-yard line midway through the second quarter with a chance to gain a touchdown advantage in a hostile environment.

But perhaps because of Gronkowski’s absence, Arizona was unable to capitalize and was forced to settle for a disappointing field goal.

The junior did not even make the trip to Iowa City, Iowa, and after the game Stoops said he is uncertain whether or not Gronkowski will choose to apply for a redshirt and grant himself two more years of eligibility.

“”We’re just going to take it day by day and see where the surgery takes us and when he might get back,”” Stoops said. “”It’s been a tough situation for him. Robbie (Gronkowski) was hopeful that he could play, he was starting to feel better. But again, there’s a lot at risk here and he just couldn’t get to where he felt comfortable.””

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