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Gronkowski undergoes back surgery

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Rob Gronkowski underwent his fifth surgery of 2013, and hopefully it will be the last for the Patriots tight end. According to various reports and a statement from Marina Del Rey Hospital in Los Angeles, the back procedure went well.

"New England Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy surgery performed by Dr. Robert Watkins at Marina Del Rey Hospital in Los Angeles," the statement said. "The surgery went well. The timing of his return to football will depend on his progression through the rehabilitation program."

The lumbar discectomy was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins to address a lingering issue with a herniated disc in Gronkowski's back. According to reports the disc operated on this time was different from the one the Watkins repaired in 2009, which cost the All-Pro tight end his senior season at the University of Arizona.

Reports estimate the time of Gronkowski's recovery to be in the 10-12 week range, which would put the start of the 2013 season in jeopardy. If the rehab takes the entire 12 weeks, Gronkowski would miss the opener against the Bills Sept. 8 at minimum. There's also a chance the team could place him on the physically unable to perform list, which would require to sit out at least the first six weeks of the season before returning to practice.

But all indications at this point are that the surgery went well and there's reason for optimism that Gronkowski's nightmarish offseason may be coming to an end.

UPDATE: NFL.com is citing a source that indicates Gronkowski will open training camp on PUP.

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