Several months ago, New England Patriots‘ fans were wondering if All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski would even play at all in 2013. Gronk of course has undergone a slew of surgeries since the end of the 2012 season, including a back surgery this past June. The normal recovery timetable for such a surgery is about ten weeks and if you do the math, the star tight end could return any day now (in theory).
The Pats gave their fans an indication that Gronkowski could be ready sooner rather than later, when they decided to keep him off the PUP list, which would have sidelined him until week seven. Now, the talented tight end has returned to the practice field in full pads and speculation is running rampant that could return very soon.
Here’s what the Pats’ TE had to say on his return timetable:
“It doesn’t matter about what that says. It just matters about how your body feels and how the rehab program is going and how you’re progressing every day. I just look forward to every day and I’m not counting since when my surgery was.”
In true New England fashion, he of course wouldn’t give an exact target date for his return.
This is all very encouraging news for Bill Belichick and company, but I think it would be absolutely loony to bring him back week one as some are speculating. We’re talking about a guy who’s coming off of four fairly-major surgeries. The last thing the defending AFC East champs need is for Gronk to re-injure himself early on in 2013. The Patriots will get by just fine without him for a few more weeks. Priority number one should be to make sure he’s 100 percent for the stretch run and the playoffs.