The New England Patriots continue to slowly but surely ease star tight end Rob Gronkowski back into action. Returning from a serious right knee injury, Gronkowski is making progress as training camp wears on.
This week Gronkowski took the step of suiting up with the rest of his teammates in full pads. That said, a significant hurdle still remains, making it seem like the big man’s return is a tad farther away than it actually is.
Erik Scalavino of Patriots.com writes the following about Gronkowski’s status:
On Sunday, the first day back on the field in Foxborough, Gronk was back with his teammates and suited up in full pads, although he remained limited in the kind of work he could do.
Afterward, Gronkowski spoke to the media, insisting he had “no setbacks” last week while he focused on his rehabilitation with team trainers. He continues to work his way back slowly from a right knee injury sustained against Cleveland last December.
As for what still stands in Gronkowski’s way in terms of an official return, that would be full-contact work in practice. From Scalavino:
“I’m going full-speed in the drills I’m doing, but they’re just limiting the drills I can do. Most likely, when I’m cleared for contact, it will be full-go, too.”
When that will be, however, remains a mystery. Gronkowski asserted that he and the team’s medical staff have no timeline for his return to full practice activity. He would only say repeatedly that he’s “getting better every day.”
To be simple about things, Gronkowski needs to hit and get hit and get comfortable doing so before he can return and be the superstar that he is when healthy.