Jun 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight ends Rob Gronkowski (87) and Michael Hoomanawanui (47) warm up during organized team activities at the Patriots Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski on pace to be ready for regular season?

Rob Gronkowski is impressing reporters in his individual workouts, showing no signs of injury. Held out of team practices due to recovery from ACL and MCL surgeries, Gronkowski was “bursting, planting and cutting” at Thursday’s practice. The Boston Globe‘s Ben Volin reported that the tight end had no physical limitations on the field.

Doctors and coaches, however, will continue to limit him in the coming weeks. And he is no stranger to Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list drama. The Patriots did not push Gronkowski into action early last year due to his back surgery and kept him on the PUP list.

This year, it will be a similar story line to follow, as Bill Belichick will have to make the same decision on a different injury. Of course, that does not make it any easier. Aside from Tom Brady, Gronkowski is the Patriots top offensive weapon, and his presence is always greatly missed when he is injured. Brady is considerable more effective with him on the field.

He tweeted a picture of himself after a workout on Saturday. He’s looking pretty ripped.

The Patriots depth at tight end is incredibly thin, with backups Michael Hoomanawanui and D. J. Williams. A few rookies are also in the mix, including undrafted free agent Asa Watson. Likely in response to Gronkowski uncertainty, the Patriots have had multiple visits with veteran tight ends, including current free agents Dustin Keller and Jermichael Finley — though Finley’s was strictly medical as he is recovering from back surgery.

Tags: New England Patriots

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