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Limp or not, QB Dan Persa striving to be ready for Northwestern’s opener

Dan Persis still ‘‘rehabbing three or four times day’’ after rupturing his right Achilles tendlast season.  |  AP

Dan Persa is still ‘‘rehabbing three or four times a day’’ after rupturing his right Achilles tendon last season. | AP

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Updated: November 3, 2011 4:50PM



Does Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa have a limp or not?

‘‘Your limp could be somebody else’s pimp walk,’’ Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said after the team’s practice Monday at Naval Station Great Lakes.

Persa has a ready explanation when he is asked about the right Achilles tendon he ruptured late last season.

‘‘I’m rehabbing three or four times a day, and it really does a number on your body,’’ Persa said. ‘‘In the past couple of weeks, it has been pain-free, which is encouraging. It gets better every day.’’

But when pressed about having a limp, which it seems he has had at times throughout camp, Persa said maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t.

‘‘A little bit, but people say that to me all the time,’’ Persa said. ‘‘I think it’s just from nine months of walking like that; it’s tough to get it out of my head. But when I run and cut, I don’t feel like I’m limping. When I run, I feel it a little bit.’’

Persa said he isn’t sure if he will start when NU opens its season Sept. 3 at Boston College, but he is putting pressure on himself to make sure he is ready to go.

And Persa said there isn’t any indication that he and backup Kain Colter will share quarterbacking duties in Boston. Persa said there might be some discussion of that in the next week.

None of the quarterbacks is allowed to take a hit during this part of camp. Persa said he wishes that wasn’t the case, so he would know what it feels like to get hit again — especially after having such a long layoff from football.

When camp started two weeks ago, Fitzgerald and offensive coordinator Mick McCall said there would be limits on what Persa could do during drills. Persa said the coaches have limited his reps and held him, along with 15 other starters, out of the Wildcats’ scrimmage Saturday.

‘‘They’re easing me back in and getting me more sets every day,’’ Persa said. ‘‘If we’re doing a lot of option stuff, then I’m not going to be doing a lot of that. But if we’re staying in the pocket and rolling around, then I’m fine with all of that.’’

It was the second consecutive year that NU practiced at Great Lakes on its way back to Evanston from Camp Kenosha. But with new NCAA regulations prohibiting teams from publicizing practices held away from their regular practice sites, there might not be a third year at the naval station.

The Wildcats had to ask the NCAA for a waiver to practice at Great Lakes because it is a facility other than one on campus or at Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha.

‘‘We’ve got the one-time exemption, and I understand the rule,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘But we’re not trying to gain a recruiting advantage by being here on base. We’re trying to come here and pay respect to the Navy and those defending us.’’



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