What we know about Gronk's timetable

We know Tuesday’s surgery on Rob Gronkowski's back went “well,” but what exactly does that mean? And when can we expect to see Gronk back on the field? ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter broke it down for us on Wednesday’s SportsCenter:

“The Patriots knew he was going to have to have this surgery and the plan was for Gronkowski to have it after the season. But then there were the forearm problems [infection], and that led to four different surgeries on his forearm.

“And because of the risk of infection, they could not operate on the back the way the team had hoped to, in January or February, or shortly after the season ended. They had to wait until yesterday for the surgery to get completed.”

The recovery time for the type of surgery Gronkowski underwent is around 12 weeks, which could put him in jeopardy of missing time early in the regular season.

“Now we wait to see how well Gronkowski responds to the rehab and that will determine how soon he’ll come back and whether he’ll be available to play in the regular season opener," Schefter said.

“But he most certainly will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list and there will definitely be questions about his conditioning level, considering all he’s been through with his forearm and his back. That’s five surgeries since November. There’s no way that Rob Gronkowski can resume his conditioning level at the same level it was when last season ended.”

Noted specialist Dr. Robert Watkins performed the surgery in California on Tuesday and released the following statement:

“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 surgery went well. The timing of his return to football will depend on his progression through the rehabilitation program.”