Sports

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski can return from back surgery, but will he be same dominant player?

Though only 24, tight end Rob Gronkowski already has taken a lot of hits in his career, so the Patriots are expected to be cautious with his return from back surgery.
Though only 24, tight end Rob Gronkowski already has taken a lot of hits in his career, so the Patriots are expected to be cautious with his return from back surgery. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

This is a summary. To read the whole story subscribe to BostonGlobe.com

Many medical experts believe that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski can be ready to take the field about 12 weeks after he undergoes surgery to repair a herniated disk this month.

But there’s a difference in being ready to play and having full confidence restored. Ross Tucker was cut by the Bills at the end of camp in ’05, and never started another NFL game.

“The truth is, it was a full year before I really felt good, and I never felt 100 percent again,” said Tucker.

The good news for Gronkowski, who is having the surgery performed by noted surgeon Robert Watkins: Most empirical evidence suggests that he can return to his elite level of performance, even in the 2013 season.

Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.

Get the full story with unlimited access to BostonGlobe.com.

Just 99 cents for four weeks.

Share