Rob Gronkowski Patriots
Tight end Rob Gronkowski is carted off of the field against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Getty

Update 12:15 p.m. ET: It appears that Gronkowski could potentially miss no time because of the injury.

Original Story

A few of the NFL’s best quarterbacks suffered significant injuries at the start of the season, and it was the league’s top tight ends that got hurt in Week 12. Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were both forced to make early exits after being injured on Sunday.

Gronkowski was carted off the field in Denver on Sunday night before the New England Patriots lost their first game of 2015 to the Broncos. The Patriots’ leading receiver appeared to hurt his knee after Broncos defensive back Darian Stewart hit him low late in the fourth quarter.

It was the same knee that Gronkowski underwent surgery on nearly two years ago, and the sight of the 26-year-old leaving the field left many Patriots’ fans holding their breath. But early reports seem to indicate that Gronkowski’s injury isn’t serious.

Even if Gronkowski misses a few games, New England will be glad just to have him back in time for the playoffs. The Patriots still have a one-game lead for the best record in the AFC, and they can clinch the AFC East title next week. Gronkowski is easily the No.1 tight end in the NFL, catching 57 passes for 931 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

The news, however, is not nearly as good for Jimmy Graham. The Seattle Seahawks tight end, who made a case to be known as the best player at his position for a few seasons with the New Orleans Saints, is done for the year. He will require knee surgery after suffering a torn patellar tendon in his right knee on Sunday afternoon.

Graham went down with the injury early in the fourth quarter before Seattle went on to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 39-30. Graham’s 48 catches for 605 yards and two scores are a far cry from the numbers he put up in New Orleans, though he has been Russell Wilson’s most targeted receiver this season.

"We're going to miss the heck out of him the rest of the season,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “He's been a fantastic addition. You saw him again today doing stuff, and he was going to have a huge day today if he was able to stay out there. So that's unfortunate."

Seattle is currently out of the playoffs, but they seem poised to reach the postseason. At 6-5, they have the same record as the No.6 seed Atlanta Falcons, who own the tiebreaker for the final NFC wild-card spot. But Atlanta has lost five of their last six games, and the Seahawks have won four of their last five contests.

The Kansas City Chiefs are having a similar season to the Seahawks, having won their last five games to emerge as the AFC’s No.6 seed with a 6-5 record. Justin Houston, Kansas City’s best defensive player, left Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills with a knee sprain. The linebacker didn’t return to the game after leaving in the first quarter, though the team hopes the injury isn’t too serious.

Ben Roethlisberger was injured for a third time this season, suffering a concussion against Seattle. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the quarterback’s symptoms didn’t last much longer after the game.