FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski needs surgery on his broken left arm and will miss the rest of the playoffs, profootballtalk.com and the Associated Press reported Sunday.
Gronkowski broke his left forearm while blocking on an extra point Nov. 18. He missed five games before returning for the regular-season finale.
He was reinjured 6:44 into Sunday's 41-28 division playoff win against the Texans on a deep pass, falling out of bounds as it dropped incomplete. Gronkowski sat on the bench in apparent pain while talking to the team doctor before heading to the locker room.
"It's hard to replace a player like him," Patriots TE and former Gator Aaron Hernandez said. "He's a freak of nature."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said little.
"I'm not sure," he said when asked if Gronkowski broke his arm. Asked if the tight end went to a hospital, Belichick said, "Look, I just walked off the field. He wouldn't have played if he wasn't ready. … The doctors handle the medical decisions."
Another injury: New England also lost RB Danny Woodhead to a thumb injury when he carried the ball on its first offensive play. His status was not disclosed by the team.
Texans injury: Houston WR DeVier Posey tore an Achilles tendon late in Sunday's loss. It's not known if he will be ready for training camp.
Better, but … : Houston vowed this game would be different from its 42-14 loss at New England on Dec. 10. Only the margin of victory changed.
"I think every team in the NFL knows how good that opponent is," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said.
"If you're going to achieve something, you're going to have to go through them at some point. This organization will keep battling to do that."
Running game: The Texans' Arian Foster ran for 90 yards, the first time in four playoff games he did not reach 100. But his 515 yards tied the NFL record for yards in the first four playoff games, set by Denver's Terrell Davis.
A Turning point: The Texans trailed 28-13 midway through the third quarter when they drove from their 5-yard line to the Patriots 37. Then Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich made a leaping interception. Six plays later, Brandon Lloyd caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Brady. "I guess I'm just blessed," Ninkovich said. "Right place, right time."
In praise: The Patriots honored the police department in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed Dec. 14 at an elementary school. Officers wearing Patriots jerseys with the No. 1 and "Newtown PD" on their backs lined up with the cheerleaders as the team ran onto the field. Two children wearing Newtown Police caps went to midfield for the coin toss.