New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is "making strides" in his recovery from back surgery, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. Gronkowski has reportedly resumed some light workout, and PFT cites ESPN's Ed Werder in saying that people close to Gronkowski describe him as "being in good spirits, looking good and making significant progress."
This is definitely good news for a Patriots team that is seeing so much change on offense. Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Danny Woodhead are all no longer with the team, with Welker's departure in particular being an issue. Welker joined the Denver Broncos, where he'll go from catching passes from Tom Brady to a target for Peyton Manning.
Then there's Aaron Hernandez, who is dealing with a murder charge and has been released by the team. Hernandez was Gronkowski's primary backup and the Patriots were confident in him to start in the event that Gronkowski wasn't able to return in time from injury.
That said, it's unclear if Gronkowski will be ready to go for the team's season opener. The recovery time from his back surgery is overlapping with the recovery time from multiple surgeries on his arm, and both are placing his return somewhere close to the first game of the season on Sept. 8. As yet, it's just unclear whether or not he'll be able to make that date.