Of all the things to have in common with Rob Gronkowski, back problems fall well below "success in the NFL" and "sweet dance moves."
Mickey Baucus can relate, unfortunately, to the bad stuff.
The Arizona Wildcats' starting left tackle has been held out of spring drills while he recovers from a microdiskectomy, the same intricate back surgery that limited Gronkowski's snaps, and effectiveness, when he played at the UA from 2007 to 2009.
Baucus still suits up for every practice, per team rules, but spends the workouts in a yellow "no-contact" jersey. The 6-foot-8-inch, 290-pound tackle said he expects to be fully healed before camp begins in August.
Baucus projects as the cornerstone of a solid offensive line this fall, though the Wildcats may take a hit if tackle Fabbians Ebbele - who has been suspended since March because of his role in a campus-area fistfight - is not invited to return.
Baucus, who will be charged with protecting quarterback Matt Scott's blind side, might be the most important - and underappreciated - cog in Arizona's new spread-option offense.
"Mickey's a tough character," center Kyle Quinn said. "He really likes throwing his aggression out onto other guys. I know he misses it, but he'll be back in the fall."
The Star talked to Baucus, 20, this week about his injury, recovery and thoughts about the upcoming season. Here's what he said:
On watching practice - but not playing: "Football is my main focus right now. Not being able to play while the team's out here working, it's been tough."
On his recovery: "I think I'll be back to 100 percent in another month. I had a disk problem, so I had to have surgery to fix it."
On how it happened: "We got back from (winter) break, and I did it (lifting) weights. We tried everything until surgery was the last option. Then we had to go to surgery."
On rehabbing with his brother, Jack, who has been out with a knee injury: "Well, it's not good that either of us are out. But I guess if you have to do it, it's good to have a guy you know to do it with."
On the new spread-option offense: "It's a lot more high-tempo. I think we're going to score a lot of points. You have to be in really good shape, though, so that's going to be my biggest goal of the summer: Get back in shape, especially given all the time I've missed. I want to stay the same weight, just distribute it a little better."
On the key to playing left tackle: "I just have to go out there and do what I have to do - go 100 percent on every play and be a (jerk). It's part of the game. You can't go out there and be nice, especially in the trenches."
On Arizona's younger players: "With (Ebbele and I) being out, a lot of other guys have gotten more reps and more of a feel for how fast the offense is. Hopefully, everything will work itself out with Fabbians and we'll be back in fall and not miss a beat."
• Where: Kino Stadium
• When: 1 p.m. Saturday
• Cost: Free