Rob Gronkowski, who underwent back surgery Friday, has been placed on injured reserve, the Patriots announced Saturday.
In a corresponding move, the Pats signed running back D.J. Foster from the practice squad.
The star tight end's otherwise incredible career has been marred by injuries — since 2009, Gronk has gone under the knife for two other back surgeries, four forearm surgeries, a knee surgery and an ankle surgery.
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"Obviously, we're all disappointed, head coach Bill Belichick said Friday. "It's an unfortunate situation."
Thursday, when the Patriots confirmed the impending surgery, they expressed doubt that he would return this year.
"We do not expect that he will be able to play for the remainder of the 2016 season, but will await the results of tomorrow's surgery before making a final determination," they said in a joint statement with the Gronkowski family.
Gronk's 2016 season ends after six starts in eight games. He made 25 catches for 540 yards and three touchdowns.