Gronkowski’s knee might be healed by the time the New England Patriots begin training camp, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be on the practice field. He will “take more time, and be more patient, than ever before” as he recovers from his knee injury, Freeman writes.
The 24 year-old tight end only played in seven games last year, sitting out the first six games with a forearm injury carried over from the 2012 NFL season. Gronkowski returned to the field on Week 7 in 2013.
On a December 8th battle with the Browns, Gronkowski took a vicious helmet-on-knee hit from safety T.J. Ward which tore both major ligaments, forcing his 2013 season to end abruptly. He ended the year with 592 yards and four touchdowns in seven games.
Gronkowski suffered a season-ending broken forearm in October of 2012, and was projected to miss 4-6 weeks. Setbacks with the injury limited him for the beginning of last year, causing him to miss training camp, preseason games, and almost the first half of the 2013 season.
The hope was that Gronk would be able to return in the early portions of the season, a suggestion that seemed plausible given reports that Gronkowski has been moving around ‘just fine’ and progressing to 'jogging soon'.
Gronkowski posted that he was still working out and will keep Patriots fans update on his Twitter accout:
Already pumped to hit that work out in tomorrow morning!! #refresh #LetYaKnowHowItGoes #GoPatsDespite his cheerful posts and optimistic views, this all seems too familiar. There were reports last season that teammates were frustrated that it took Gronkowski so long to return from his injuries despite tearing it up on the practice field. He will be once again returning to a team where anonymous players have questioned his desire.
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) April 17, 2014
Given the rash of serious injuries Gronkowski has dealt with in recent years, it’s hard to blame the former Arizona Wildcats product for wanting to take as much time as possible to heal. A catalyst in the passing game, he has a career 3,255 yards and 42 touchdowns in four seasons with New England. Healing is definitely top priority for the 6'6" 265 pound tight end.
Hopefully Gronkowski won't be a candidate to open the year on the physically unable to perform list. On the field, he's one of history's premier play makers at his position, but the Patriots just can't count on his talents at the start come this September.
On Twitter: @alewnes7