Rob Gronkowski: 'Big-time' strides

Updated: September 19, 2013, 10:55 AM ET
By Field Yates | ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on Wednesday said he has "progressed significantly since last week" but would not speculate on whether he will make his 2013 debut Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

[+] EnlargeRob Gronkowski
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaPatriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, left, was on the practice field again Wednesday and said he has made "big-time" strides in his recovery from offseason surgeries on his back and forearm.

Gronkowski is making his way back from offseason surgeries on his forearm and back. On Tuesday, ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder reported there was a 50-50 chance that Gronkowski would play Sunday.

"So far there's really nothing new to report," Gronkowski said. "And I'm just day to day and progressing every week and I've progressed significantly since last week."

The 24-year-old said he is making "big-time" strides in his recovery and has been a regular on the practice field the last three weeks. He was listed as a limited participant in practice each of the past two weeks and was limited in Wednesday's session as well. 

"I'm just improving every week, feeling good every week, and when everyone collaborates together and feels ready to go, that's when it'll be," Gronkowski said. "So far, I've just had a good day today, and I've got to look forward to tomorrow and what I can do to improve tomorrow."

The Patriots' offense could use a boost from Gronkowski, who totaled 39 touchdowns over the past three seasons. The team sputtered in Week 2 against the New York Jets, managing just nine first downs. Tom Brady targeted the tight end position just once last Thursday.

Brady said Wednesday he's not counting on Gronkowski's return until he's told by the team that it's happening.

"I just assume he's not playing until they tell me he's going to play," he said. "We've dealt with him injured a lot of last season, too. I think we know how to play without him. It's going to be a nice little influx of a really rare talent when he gets back. I love having him on the field with me. I love working with him. He's been great to work with since the day he got here. Whenever he's back on the game field, it will be exciting for all of us."

Gronkowski was asked whether he would feel ready to go if the team gave him the thumbs up to return to game action.

"I'm ready to go for what's presented to me for that day, what I can do for that day," he said. "What I can do that day, I'm going to do to the max of my ability ... just basically progressing and progressing every day, and that's all I've got."

Receiver Danny Amendola also was listed as limited at the Patriots' full-pads practice Wednesday morning. Reporters saw Amendola, who reportedly has torn adductors in his hip, jog with teammates, go through agility drills and catch a few lightly thrown passes. He didn't take part in every drill and wasn't running at full speed. 

ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.

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.

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