Gronkowski having fourth forearm surgery Monday

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will have an operation on his left forearm on Monday, according to the Boston Herald.

Gronkowski broke the forearm during last season and he reinjured it during the playoffs. It also got infected. It will be the fourth procedure on the forearm since the injury occurred.

A new plate will be placed into the forearm to help it heal if the infection is gone.

Gronkowski recently underwent an MRI on his back to check on a disc problem he has had since last season, so he face back surgery, according to multiple reports.

Jackson: Jordan better than Bryant

In his upcoming book, “Eleven Rings,” former NBA coach Phil Jackson writes that Michael Jordan was a better leader, shooter and defender than Kobe Bryant.

The Los Angeles Times published excerpts of the book, which is scheduled to be released on Tuesday.

In comparing the leaderships skills of Jordan and Bryant, Jackson wrote: “One of the biggest differences between the two stars from my perspective was Michael’s superior skills as a leader. Though at times he could be hard on his teammates, Michael was masterful at controlling the emotional climate of the team with the power of his presence. Kobe had a long way to go before he could make that claim. He talked a good game, but he’d yet to experience the cold truth of leadership in his bones, as Michael had.”

Jackson wrote that the most “pronounced” difference between the two players was their shooting ability. Jordan shot nearly 50 percent for his career while Bryant has made about 45 percent for his career.

On defense, “No question, Michael was a tougher, more intimidating defender (than Bryant),” Jackson wrote. “He could break through virtually any screen and shut down almost any player with his intense, laser-focused style of defense.”

Nadal and Williams win easily in Rome

ROME — Rafa Nadal made short work of his great rival Roger Federer to win the Italian Open, his sixth trophy of the year, 6-1, 6-3 on Sunday.

The crowd sitting in the sunshine at Rome’s Foro Italico watched Nadal race to victory in 69 minutes on the red clay.

The Spaniard, back in his best form after last year’s long injury layoff, spent less time on court than Serena Williams who won her fourth consecutive tour title when she thrashed former world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3 to take the women’s title earlier on Sunday.

Nadal, seeded fifth, dominated the first set, winning 20 of 25 points at one stage, as the Swiss second seed produced a string of unforced errors.

Federer raised his game in the second set, breaking a nine-game losing streak to go 1-3, but Nadal was in no mood to slow down. Despite being broken as he served for the match at 5-1, Nadal went on to complete his 36th win in 38 matches this year.

Eagles Vick calls critics ‘ignorant’

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick called out critics who say he holds on to the ball for too long before he makes throws.

“I’m really tempted right now to just say no comment to that because like I said a second ago, you don’t last 12 years in the NFL not being able to read the defense,” Vick told radio station 97.5 FM in Philadelphia recently via “Those people who are talking and saying that are just ignorant, and they know nothing about football.

“Unless they turn on the film and watch my game and see what goes on, then they’ll replace those comments with the right comments.”

New Eagles coach Chip Kelly has been working with Vick on doing a better job of holding on to the ball and is encouraging him to run more.

“Chip told me how to run with the football the other day,” Vick said. “He taught me how to run with the football and how to carry the football, and I think it’s something that you just have to work on.”

After showing Kelly how he runs with the ball during a recent workout with the team, Kelly knocked the ball out of his hands and told him to tuck it in more securely.

Smith wants ‘to retire a Knick’

New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith can be a free agent this summer, but said he does not want to leave the team.

Smith, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, has a player option for next season for just under $3 million, but there is a good chance that he will opt out of it and seek a multi-year contract that includes a higher salary.

“I want to retire a Knick,” Smith told the New York Daily News. “I don’t want to go anywhere else. I love my teammates, I love my coaches. I was standing in the locker room looking at my jersey after the game (Saturday) and just knowing that I don’t want to be anywhere else except in the orange and blue. We’ll see.”

The Knicks were eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoffs by the Indiana Pacers on Smith was strong in the regular season, but his production dipped in the playoffs. His field goal percentage dropped from 42.2 percent to 33.1 percent and his three-point shooting fell from 35.6 percent to 27.3 percent. He also averaged about four points per game less in the postseason that the regular season.