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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski says he's been 'getting healthy on the side'

 Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots works out on the field before the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Houston, Texas.
Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots works out on the field before the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Houston, Texas.
Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been partying it up in Las Vegas with Johnny Manziel, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t focused on returning to the field and perhaps even being available for the regular-season opener. According to NESN’s Doug Kyed on Wednesday, Gronkowski told reporters that his knee is “coming along good.”

Gronkowski’s health will be a key factor as to how far the Patriots go this year; so all eyes are once again on the talented tight end. The star player was at a Play 60 event in Foxboro and explained his absence at this week’s OTAs by informing reporters that he has been “getting healthy on the side.”

As was the case last year, Gronkowski if focused on rehabbing an injury, but explained how different coming off an ACL and MCL tear is different than last year’s forearm and lower back injuries. He said, “It’s way different stuff. This year, basically just gotta be patient and just work hard and literally just give it all I can every single day.”

Gronkowski knows he has to be patient while he heals and just continue to work hard until he is “ready to roll.” Owner Robert Kraft complimented his young tight end’s commitment and upbeat nature. Kraft applauded Gronkowski’s efforts saying, “He is such a well-intentioned guy and he’s a lot of fun. I’ve never seen Gronk, in all the time with us, ever say or do anything that had a negative overtone.”

There is no doubt that when Rob Gronkowski is on the field he is a game changer who makes Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense more potent. That’s why it is important that he is completely healthy before he takes the field. Over the last couple of years it has been depth and injuries that has hurt the Patriots from a position where they have learned to count on. A healthy Gronkowski can make life a lot easier in Foxboro, especially come playoff time.