David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots Rumors: Aaron Hernandez could be on PUP

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez needed surgery earlier this offseason on his shoulder and although the injury is reportedly minor, Hernandez is still fully expected to miss mini camp and OTAs. According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, “word is that” Aaron Hernandez “can expect about a four-month recovery period”, and this leads Reiss to state that Hernandez could start training camp on the physical unable to perform list (PUP).

Hernandez was supposed to have massive workout sessions with Tom Brady in Los Angeles, but his shoulder injury will not allow him to do that. But maybe Hernandez’s plan all along was to hang out with Brady and work with Brady’s renowned personal trainer in order to increase his ability to stay healthy. Expect a lot of successful rehabbing from Hernandez, and he will need to stay healthy in order to be his explosive self in 2013. Hernandez has “breakout player” written all over him, and by that I mean that Hernandez can entrench himself as one of the most dangerous offensive players in the game when healthy. If it wasn’t for a nasty sprained ankle that really put a damper on his 2012 campaign, Hernandez could have been the second most productive pass-catcher on the Patriots behind Wes Welker.

But I digress. Hernandez has never played in all 16 games through his first three seasons, so I’m hoping the Florida product can play in all 16 this year and have that kind of a breakout season. He is getting plenty of time to rehab and rest until the 2013 season, and the Patriots are wise to take things slow with Hernandez. If he gets placed on the PUP, who cares? As long as he is fully healthy to start the regular season (and gets a chance to shake off some rust in the preseason), then I’m fine. With Hernandez, health is clearly the number one priority.

Since the recovery period is likely set at four months, that would put Hernandez’s training camp debut on a slight delay, hence the chances of the Pats wisely putting him on the PUP. If the Pats needed to have him healthy by then, then Hernandez could make that date. But they don’t; what they need is to have him healthy and well-rested.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Aaron Hernandez ESPN Boston Mike Reiss New England Patriots

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