New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez underwent shoulder surgery two weeks ago -- but according to The Boston Globe, the procedure was merely a minor scope, and Hernandez is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in July.
Hernandez has been plagued by injuries throughout the first three years of his career, and has missed 10 of New England's 48 regular season games since he was drafted in 2010. Hernandez was plagued by an ankle injury throughout the 2012 season, but there was never any mention of a shoulder injury to Hernandez by the secretive Patriots.
When on the field, Hernandez one of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's most dynamic weapons. In three seasons, Hernandez has 175 receptions for 1,956 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. 2011 was Hernandez' most successful campaign, appearing in 14 games, while racking up 910 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
Hernandez has been used out of the backfield and as a wide receiver, in addition to his traditional position as New England's second tight end. With New England lacking at wide receiver, Hernandez could see extensive time at the position in 2013. Danny Amendola, Donald Jones and Michael Jenkins will attempt to replace Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker and Deion Branch for the Patriots -- and New England is expected to use one of its draft picks on a wide receiver.
The Patriots do have Rob Gronkowski, Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui on their roster, giving Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels flexibility as it pertains to Hernandez's role in New England's 2013 offense.
Any time a player goes under the knife, it's cause for concern -- especially for somebody plagued by injury, as Hernandez has been throughout his young career. That it was just a minor scope on Hernandez's shoulder is a relief to the Patriots and Patriots fans alike.