Rob Gronkowski injury: Patriots TE sheds cast, moving around fine

Jared Wickerham

Gronk is in "great spirits." While that might not be breaking news, he has removed his cast and is beginning his rehab.

It has been a rough offseason for the New England Patriots. Between Rob Gronkowski's bevy of injuries, Aaron Hernandez's arrest (and subsequent release) as well as Alfonzo Dennard having off-field issues, the organization needed a silver lining. That silver lining might be on the way, as Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that Gronkowski was "moving around fine," following his back surgery last month.

Getting the star tight end back in the fold quickly is vital to the Patriots' chances in 2013. The Pats are accustomed to turning over their roster, but typically it's on their terms. Between losing Wes Welker to free agency, and Hernandez as a result of a necessary cut, the Patriots find themselves lacking almost 2,000 receiving yards they relied on in 2012.

Danny Amendola will help mitigate the loss of Welker, but the Patriots could have been in trouble if Gronkowski was out of the picture too. The former second-round pick has caught 38 touchdowns in three seasons and has been Tom Brady's favorite end zone target.

There's currently no update to Gronkowski's recovery timetable, but today's news is welcome as the Patriots prepare for training camp later this month.

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Photo: Maurkice Pouncey wears "Free Hernandez" hat

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