Rob Gronkowski's 2013 has been a bit of a hassle. The tight end missed the first six weeks of the season recovering from forearm and back surgeries, and if the Patriots' guesses are right, Gronkowski will be missing the rest of the season. Not even The Gronk can come back that quickly from the feared torn ACL.

Gronkowski was taken out of this Sunday's game after a low hit by Cleveland safety T.J. Ward left him in pain in the third quarter. Ward is probably going to take some heat for that move, but he did defend his choice after the game by blaming the NFL rules: ''It's not a decision where I'm going to go low on every play, but, actually, it has kind of turned into that in those situations, in those split-second decisions where you have a guy running down the field who's 280 (pounds), and I'm 200, and the fact that if you do even hit him in his chest and he decides to hunch down or flinch or lower his head, then I could have the chance of being fined.''

Ward can blame his actions on circumstance, but the Patriots are the ones who'll have to deal with circumstance. They may be without their best throwing target for the rest of the season, and Brady, who's finally stopped being so emotional, is prepared for the challenges. "'I think we all feel sorry for Rob," Brady said. "But I don't think anyone feels sorry for the Patriots.'' Precisely. The Pats tend to get more slander than sympathy; how many people would mourn if New England had lost against the Browns?

RELATED: The 50 Most Brutal Hits in NFL History 
RELATED: The 25 Greatest Sports Careers Ruined by Injury 

[via Yahoo! Sports