Rob Gronkowski will fly to Marina del Rey, Calif., on Wednesday for a final meeting with the doctor who performed surgery on his injured back in September.
He will be poked, prodded and stressed to the max.
How the Arizona Wildcats' junior tight end responds will determine his NFL future - and possibly, change the trajectory of a UA program that has posted back-to-back 8-5 seasons.
Gronkowski told the Star he will enter the NFL draft if he can be medically cleared by Friday, the deadline for underclassmen to declare. The greatest tight end in UA history appears likely to cut his college career short after playing just 22 games.
Arizona coaches know Gronkowski's plans.
"I'll most likely go into the draft if I can be 100 percent by (next month's NFL) combine," Gronkowski told the Star. "It's tough - it's really tough. As long as I know I can be healthy and can show what I can do, I'd like to give it a shot."
There's no question Gronkowski, 20, is a game-changer when healthy.
A 6-foot-6-inch, 265-pounder, Gronkowski caught 75 passes for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns in his first two seasons.
Gronkowski was expected to be the focal point of Arizona's offense in 2009, but never saw the field because of a back injury.
Dr. Robert G. Watkins III of the Marina Spine Center performed a 3 1/2-hour microdiscectomy on Gronkowski's back on Sept. 24, removing a small portion of his spine to relieve pressure on his sciatic nerve.
Gronkowski missed the entire season, but continued to weigh his NFL options. He filed paperwork with the NFL last month to gauge his draft slot.
The feedback was encouraging.
Gronkowski's father, Gordon, said 18 teams evaluated Rob's film.
"Nine of them said that, 'if Rob blows up at the combine, he'll go first round.' The other nine said, 'if he just does good there, we'll take him in the second round.'
"I talked to one of the team's doctors, someone I know from a team that needs a tight end. He said, 'Gordie, I'm giving your kid flying colors.' "
Rob Gronkowski said he's "been hearing from a lot of teams, first round. Other teams have been saying second round."
Draft experts aren't so sure. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said in November that Gronkowski "would be better served" by staying at the UA for another year, in part because he would be a preseason favorite for the Mackey Award and All-America honors.
Consensus Draft Services lists Gronkowski as the top tight end in the 2011 class.
It's unclear where he would fit, should he declare early: Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham, USC's Anthony McCoy, Oregon's Ed Dickson and BYU's Dennis Pitta are all expected to be drafted in the first few rounds.
Gronkowski is doing his best to join them.
He relocated to Miami last week to train at Bommarito Performance Systems, one of the nation's top pre-draft workout centers.
Gronkowski spends nine hours a day running on an "anti-gravity" treadmill, lifting weights and rehabilitating his back.
Gronkowski is paying his own way to preserve his amateur status. He has not hired an agent and remains enrolled in school - but that could change within hours of a decision to turn pro.
Ron Slavin of BTI Sports Advisers represents UA senior Chris Gronkowski and an older Gronkowski brother, Dan, who was a 2009 pick of the Detroit Lions. UA cornerback Devin Ross and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell are Slavin clients, as are former Wildcats Mike Thomas and Antoine Cason.
Gordon Gronkowski has been barraged by agents in recent weeks. Slavin remains an option, he said.
"The phone rings off the hook - there are 700 agents in the NFL, and I think I've heard from all of them," he said with a laugh. "They call my cell phone. They call my work. I don't even know where they get the numbers."
It will all be over soon.
The UA has scheduled a news conference for Friday at 11 a.m. to discuss Gronkowski's NFL plans, but that's largely irrelevant.
Gronkowski's future will be decided Wednesday.
"It just depends on what the doctor says and how Robby feels," Gordon Gronkowski said. "If he feels like everything's right, and there's no problem, it's a definite 'go' then."