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Rob Gronkowski's back improving

Unlikely the star TE plays Sunday. Aaron Wilson

Print This September 04, 2013, 03:57 PM EST

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski told reporters that his back is beginning to improve as he nears a return date to the playing field.

Gronkowski wouldn't say he was out for Week 1's game against Buffalo, though the liklihood that the tight end actually suits up is extremely slim.

“Do I feel physically prepared? I mean that’s kind of an obvious answer,” Gronkowski said, via ESPN Boston. “I couldn’t really do what I usually do all offseason, but that’s what this time is for right now, just progressing and working hard right now to the max of my ability.”

Reports indicate Gronkowski could be back to the Patriots' lineup as early as Week 3. It would be tough for him to be back for the short turnaround in Week 2, when the Patriots host the Jets on Thursday, Sept. 12.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

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