Rob Gronkowski is still working his way back from a few offseason surgeries, and he won’t be on the field when the Patriots open training camp this Friday.
Gronkowski is one of four Patriots who will begin camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Gronkowski, who is still recovering from back and forearm surgeries, will be joined by tight end Jake Ballard (knee) and wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is still recovering from foot surgery.
Ballard, who didn’t play in 2012 while recovering from ACL/microfracture surgery, was a full participant in many of the offseason OTAs and minicamp. He spent a lot of time working with Tom Brady during drills but never looked fully comfortable running routes or cutting on his surgically repaired knee. He also sprained his ankle during one of the Patriots’ final OTAs.
Edelman’s 2012 season came to an abrupt end in December when he broke his foot. Edelman re-injured the foot during the offseason, requiring some “cleanup” surgery, and was unable to practice with the team during the offseason. He was seen briefly on the field catching passes during the offseason, which is at least a sign that he’s making progress.
With three of the Patriots’ primary receiving targets heading into the season unable to begin camp on time, some of the young guys should be given extra opportunities. That means rookie receivers like Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kembrell Thompkins as well as rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld will have more chances to either make the roster or further establish themselves in the Patriots’ offense.
Nick McDonald, a versatile backup offensive lineman, was also placed on the active/PUP list. He continues to battle an undisclosed ailment that also kept him from participating in offseason workouts or minicamp.
Three other players will also open up camp on the shelf, listed with non-football related ailments. Defensive lineman Armond Armstead was placed on the non-football illness list while rookie safety Kanorris Davis and rookie center Matt Stankiewitch were placed on the non-football injury list.
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