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Patriots' Rob Gronkowski headed for back surgery

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is scheduled to undergo back surgery, The Buffalo News has learned.

According to NFL sources, the Western New York native is on his way to Los Angeles for the procedure. He is expected to be out of action for eight weeks.

Gronkowski suffered a ruptured disk and a punctured lung from a hit by safety Earl Thomas in the Patriots' loss against the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 13.

Gronkowski had back issues during his career at the University of Arizona. The surgery will be the third on his back since college.

Gronkowski also has had operations on his ankle and arm.

He missed the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury. A chest injury kept him out of the Patriots' Week 11 victory against San Francisco.

The former Williamsville North standout apparently aggravated his back injury on the Patriots' third drive of their win against the New York Jets Sunday.

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