After a week away from the practice field, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will make his return to practice next week when the Philadelphia Eagles come to town on August 12.
"I expect that we will see him back on the field next week against Philadelphia [Eagles] working like he did before we left there and hopefully continue to make good progress," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told Scott Zolak on 98.5 The Sports Hub (hat tip to Lee Schechter of ESPN Boston) before their preseason opener against the Washington Redskins.
Gronkowski still has not participated in team drills to this point in training camp, instead doing more individual work. He has been catching passes from quarterback Tom Brady while cornerback Darrelle Revis follows him in coverage.
Gronkowski did not make the trip to Richmond, Virginia for joint practices with the Redskins, but Belichick said he has been continuing his rehab while away from the practice field.
"This week was an opportunity for him to re-up the treatments and less on the field work," Belichick said.
There should be no rush to get Gronkowski back on the field, but their offense is far more effective with him on the field than without. As we learned last year, though, he and Brady will pick up right where they left off regardless of when he returns to the field. He had 39 receptions for 592 yards and four touchdowns in seven games, and eight catches for 114 yards in his first game back in the lineup.