FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- While acknowledging that Rob Gronkowski's return to the practice field was a step forward, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick fell well short of predicting a potential return date for the tight end.
"There is no straight-line formula for that. We take it day to day," Belichick said. "I don't know any other way to do it. We don't know how he's going to be feeling in two days. Or any other player. It's not about him, it's about any player that's coming back from injury. That's how we do it. Nobody has a crystal ball."
Gronkowski, who had multiple forearm surgeries and a back procedure in the offseason, practiced with the team for a second straight day Monday. He was in full pads on Sunday in his first session with the team. Monday's practice was little more than a walk-through in helmets and shells.
"This is his first opportunity to be in pads," Belichick said. "So, yeah, he's definitely moving forward."
When asked if Gronkowski had a chance to play in Sunday's season opener against the Buffalo Bills, Belichick would only say he is "day to day."
Gronkowski is not expected to be available for the opener or the quick turnaround against the New York Jets in Week 2, a Thursday night matchup.
"We evaluate each player day to day," Belichick said. "We look at his situation the next day, and if he's improved and able to move ahead, then we move him ahead. If not, then we keep him where he is, or sometimes there is a step back a little bit, and then you move ahead. It just depends on each individual player, his situation, what his progress is."