|ESPN.com: NFL||[Print without images]|
BOSTON -- New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez underwent shoulder surgery earlier this offseason but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in late July, the NFL Network reported Tuesday morning.
A league source confirmed that Hernandez underwent shoulder surgery this offseason and is currently rehabbing in California. The source described Hernandez's surgery as minor.
It is unclear when the injury occurred, and Hernandez is likely to miss OTAs and the team's minicamp in June, according to the report.
The 23-year old Hernandez recorded 51 catches in 10 regular season games during the 2012 season, missing six games due to an ankle injury sustained in a Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
The injury bothered Hernandez throughout the season, his third with the Patriots. Hernandez had agreed to a long-term contract extension through the 2018 season before the season began.
Hernandez isn't the Patriots' only star tight end to undergo surgery this offseason, as Rob Gronkowski had a third procedure on his left forearm following the development of an infection in the area that was originally affected when he broke the forearm Nov. 18. Gronkowski continues to deal with the infection, and a fourth surgery relating to the injury remains "very likely," sources told ESPNBoston.com.
The Patriots began their voluntary offseason strength and conditioning program on Monday, and the first OTA is scheduled for May 20.