BOSTON (CBS) — Rob Gronkowski took another step forward on his road to recovery on Monday, practicing for the second straight day with the Patriots.

Sunday’s practice was Gronkowski’s first time participating in football drills with the team this year, as he has spent the summer recovering from his most recent back surgery. He was in full pads on Sunday, and he was in shells with the team on Monday. The team was in shoulder pads and shorts on Monday.

Gronkowski did not participate in the entirety of Sunday’s practice session, and it’s not yet known what Gronkowski’s participation level was on Monday.

Head coach Bill Belichick’s only update on Gronkowski after practice was that the tight end is “day-to-day.”

Still, his presence is no doubt a welcome sight for the Patriots. Of the team’s five leading receivers last season, Gronkowski is the only returning player. He caught 55 passes for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns in just 11 games played last year. Despite missing five games and essentially playing against Miami with the proper use of just one arm, he ranked first among tight ends in touchdowns and seventh in receiving yards, and he finished tied for fourth overall in receiving touchdowns.

Nobody outside of the team knows what might be the target date for a Gronkowski return, but the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe noted that the most optimistic “whispers” around the team say he could be back as soon as Week 2 vs. the Jets. Even if that is too aggressive of a return date, the fact that sights may be aimed that early is a good sign that Gronkowski should not miss too much of the start of the season.

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