Brandon Lawrence

Patriots Hobbled By TE Injuries

Created on Apr. 17, 2013 5:22 PM EST

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez underwent shoulder surgery earlier this offseason, according to ESPN. The extent of the surgery was minor, but it is unclear when Hernandez suffered the injury that led to surgery.

The 23-year-old tight end is expected to miss all OTAs in June and minicamp, but will likely be ready to go for the start of training camp at the end of July, NFL Network reported.

Hernandez missed six games at the beginning of the 2012 regular season after suffering an ankle injury in week two against the Cardinals. And with fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski laid up with recurring arm problems, unsure of when he will be able to play again, the Patriots' first option at that position would be Jake Ballard. Ballard hasn't played since Super Bowl XLVI. It looks like Hernandez should be cleared by the time games and scrimmages start up.

Despite missing significant time last season, Hernandez caught 51 passes in 2012 for 483 yards and five touchdowns.

The first of the Patriots' OTAs is scheduled for May 20.

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