Rob Gronkowski has surgery

Updated: June 19, 2013, 2:45 PM ET
By Field Yates |

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent back surgery with noted specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in California on Tuesday.

Watkins said in a statement that Gronkowski's procedure "went well." 

"The timing of his return to football will depend on his progression through the rehabilitation program," Watkins said.

Gronkowski's recovery time from the surgery has been estimated to be in the area of 12 weeks.

He is expected to open training camp on the physically unable to perform list, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The Patriots have not yet announced the opening date of training camp, which will start sometime in late July.

Gronkowski's surgery comes on the heels of a fourth surgery on his left forearm, which was initially broken in November. Fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez is also coming off of surgery this offseason, and the Patriots currently have an NFL-high seven tight ends on the roster.

The Patriots start the regular season on Sept. 8 at Buffalo.

In 43 NFL games, Gronkowski has scored 39 touchdowns -- 38 on passes and one on a run.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press also was used.

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.