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Gronkowski Needs Back Surgery

Patriots LogoNew England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will undergo back surgery in mid-to-late June, a source tells ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Gronkowski, who is not expected to be ready for the start of training camp in late July, will have the procedure performed by noted spine specialist Dr. Robert Watkins.

It’s yet another trip to the operating room for Gronkowski, who recently underwent a fourth surgery on his broken forearm.

As for the back injury, Gronkowski recently underwent an MRI to check on a disk issue from last season, according to ESPN and media reports. The disk injury is not related to the same one that required a procedure in 2009, according to a source.

With Gronkowski sidelined, tight end Jake Ballard has looked sharp in each of the media-accessible OTAs, showing limited signs of restriction nearly 16 months after originally suffering a knee injury. He’s shown reliable hands to go along with his big frame (6-foot-6, 275 pounds), and he should make a difference as a blocker when the pads come on.

The burly tight end said that while he’s working toward being back to 100 percent, he’s staying within the parameters of what the team’s medical and coaching staff have laid out for him while he’s on the field.

“I’m doing my best I can to be 100 percent, and I’m doing as much as I can, as much as they’re allowing me to do out here,” Ballard said. “When I’m out here I feel like I’m putting in good work and getting better.”

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPNBoston.com’s Field Yates was used in this report.


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