The New England Patriots on Tuesday placed tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Julian Edelman on the active/physically unable to perform list, meaning they are not yet cleared to practice once training camp begins later this week.
They can be removed from the list at any point, but the designations provide some early context as to where they stand in their recoveries from surgery.
Gronkowski's status is no surprise. The bigger question remains if he will be ready for the season opener Sept. 8 at Buffalo after undergoing four surgeries on his left forearm this year and a back surgery June 18.
Edelman, whose 2012 season ended in December because of a foot injury, had a clean-up procedure this offseason that knocked him out of spring drills. Given the questions the Patriots have at receiver, and Edelman's background in the system and rapport with Tom Brady, Edelman appears to have a big opportunity ahead of him when he returns to full health.
The move means that each is eligible to practice when training camp opens. Ballard is coming off of a major knee injury back in February 2012, while it is unclear why Davis was originally placed on the non-football injury list.
Ballard is a candidate to earn playing time as the Patriots await the return of Gronkowski.
In addition to Ballard, Edelman and Gronkowski, reserve offensive lineman Nick McDonald was placed on the active/PUP list. McDonald, whose flexibility to line up at center, guard and even tackle makes him a valuable reserve, was held out of spring drills due an undisclosed ailment.
There is a difference between the active/PUP list for training camp and the reserve/PUP list during the regular season. A player on the active/PUP can be removed at any time, while a player on the reserve/PUP list is required to miss at least the first six weeks of the season.
The Patriots will hold their first practice of training camp Friday.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Field Yates was used in this report.