Rob Gronkowski's return timetable for the 2013 season is in doubt with yet another surgery scheduled for next week.
Gronkowski, the All-Pro tight end for the New England Patriots, remains a medical question with training camps set to open next month. He is about to undergo his second back surgery of the offseason on Tuesday -- as first reported by ESPN -- and has undergone repeated surgeries on his forearm as well.
At this point, given his recurring issues with the same body parts and the difficulties with his recovery, one source with knowledge of his situation noted it would be very difficult to pinpoint a return for Gronkowski. It has become pretty obvious he won't be cleared for contact for virtually all of training camp, and spending a considerable amount of time on the PUP list could be ahead as well, depending on the success of the surgery and how Gronkowski's body responds.
Gronkowski has been a touchdown machine for New England, but the Patriots -- at the vanguard of the movement toward multiple pass-catching tight ends -- are suddenly short at outside receivers, have a new (injury prone) slot receiver in Danny Amendola, and could be lacking at tight end as well. They signed Tim Tebow last week, who projects more as a fullback/tight end/H-back than at any other position, with his chances of being even a backup quarterback for the Patriots quite bleak.