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Jets catch 'break': Pats' Gronk out 4-6 weeks

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski spikes

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski spikes the ball after his touchdown catch against the Indianapolis Colts in the first quarter. (Nov. 18, 2012) Credit: AP

The Jets caught a lucky break -- literally.

According to multiple outlets, New England tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken bone in his forearm during the Patriots' lopsided win Sunday over the Colts. His return timetable is slated at 4-6 weeks.'s  Ian Rapoport reports Gronkowski -- the first tight end in NFL history to have at least 10 touchdown receptions in each of his first three seasons -- will undergo surgery Monday.

Gronkowski left the game following a Patriots' extra point that put them ahead, 52-24, with about nine minutes remaining in the fourth.

Of course, the Jets -- who square off against Bill Belichick's team on Thanksgiving Night  -- are the beneficiaries of New England's bad fortune. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was 7-for-7 for 137 yards and two touchdowns when targeting Gronkowski in Sunday's rout of the Colts. And over their past four games, Brady is 5-for-7 targeting Gronkowski in the end zone after starting the season 2-for-6 on similar throws in their first six games.

The obvious question here is: Why in the WORLD would Bill Belichick have kept his starters in the game at that point? 

At this point, it doesn't matter. Nothing Belichick says on Monday will quiet the criticisms.

But the next question is: Can the Jets capitalize on Gronkowski's absence?

In nine games against the Jets, the Patriots tight end has 248 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 20 catches.

Fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez was inactive for the game with an ankle injury. Hernandez, who was "questionable" heading into Sunday's game against Indy, missed three weeks after suffering an ankle injury in Week 2. He returned to action Oct. 14, but he aggravated the injury and has now missed three straight games.

Hernandez, however, is expected to face the Jets Thursday.

New York Sports