Welker faces shoulder rehab

In addition to undergoing surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left knee, Patriots receiver Wes Welker is also recovering from a torn rotator cuff this offseason, according to a source close to the situation.

The source said the knee, not the rotator cuff, remains Welker's primary obstacle in returning for the 2010 season, but Welker believes that he will play.

Welker, 28, led the NFL with 123 receptions last season despite missing two games and leaving the season finale on the Patriots' fourth offensive play after injuring his knee.

Teammates often marveled at the big hits the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Welker absorbed, only to see him spring back to his feet. Welker's knack for doing that had rookie receiver Julian Edelman, his projected replacement in 2010 until his return, calling him "Rocky" at one point last season.

The news first came to light early Friday on a blog called Big Rips, written by Seth Davis.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPN Boston. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.