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Report: Patriots target Week 1 for Rob Gronkowski return

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

The Patriots are taking it slow with Rob Gronkowski's injury.
The Patriots are taking it slow with Rob Gronkowski's injury. (USATSI)

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Logically, the Patriots would like Rob Gronkowski back when the season begins. They'd probably like him back sooner but apparently won't be pushing things.

Week 1, however, is the Pats' target date for Gronk's return, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com (via CBS Boston).

"It's possible that he'd be ready for the start of camp, but he and the team aren't going to do anything to jeopardize the real goal, which is to have him on the field for Week 1," Breer notes.

Gronk played in just 17 games the past two years, but you could argue his injuries are somewhat fluky, despite his label as an injury-prone player.

He suffered a broken forearm in a blowout against the Colts while blocking on an extra point in 2012 and then in 2013 he tore his ACL when T.J. Ward went headhunting on a tackle. Watch the hit Ward put on him and it's a wonder his knee didn't just flat-out explode.

This hit occurred right as the Patriots offense was beginning to come on strong: with Gronk in the lineup, Tom Brady looked like his usual self. With Gronk out? New England's offense oftentimes sputtered.

Which is precisely why the Pats can't afford to rush Gronk's return. Getting him healthy and ready to play by the start of the season should be priority No. 1.

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