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September 28, 2009Sam Bradford will be back on the practice field for Oklahoma this week in an effort to regain his starting job before the Sooners take on Miami on Saturday evening.
Bradford has been sidelined since the season opener against BYU when he suffered a third-degree shoulder separation just before halftime. After a weekend trip to Birmingham, Ala., to see the renowned Dr. James Andrews, Bradford is clear to resume throwing.
But whether he takes the field as OU's starting quarterback is yet to be determined.
"We just have to feel comfortable that he's healthy, that he feels good enough to make the throws we need to make and that he's ready to do it," said Bob Stoops on Monday morning.
Stoops will have to balance practice repetitions between Bradford and last week's Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, Landry Jones, who has thrown for 673 yards and nine touchdowns since Bradford has been sidelined.
It could become a delicate balancing act for Stoops and OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. If Bradford can't go, Jones must be prepared to face the biggest challenge of his young career on Saturday night in Miami.
Stoops eschewed any concerns about the precariousness of the situation.
"The game plan is the same for each, they're similar," said Stoops. "It's not like one of them is a scrambling, wildcat type of guy and you have a whole different ballgame for him.
"So as far as game plan goes, that's not challenging in that we'll have the same one for both of them. That's how its been the last couple of weeks and its been really good for Landry. He's a similar thrower and style of guy. It's just getting each of them a number of snaps to be comfortable and to evaluate Sam through the week."
Stoops did confirm that Bradford's trip to visit Dr. Andrews was simply a check-up, and not a signal of any problems with the Heisman Trophy winner's rehabilitation.
If anything, it was a verification of his own doctor's diagnosis.
"It was an extra opinion and I think as much as anything - our guys have been awesome in their evaluation and when it all first happened we got multiple opinions and everybody's were pretty similar and our guys were definitely on the right track and doing the right things," said Stoops. "That was the outcome the other day as well."
Stoops also said Bradford wasn't operating outside of the network of doctors available to him in Norman, but that Dr. Andrews had been included throughout the process.
"Our doctors, through all the MRIs and everything visited with many, many people, including Dr. Andrews," said Stoops.
Stoops says the evaluation will begin today during practice and their determination of Bradford's availability will "probably" be announced before game time in Miami.
"I would think we would know here later in the week with what Sam's able to handle and where we feel we're at with it," said Stoops. "I'm not much on, maybe some people would disagree, on being coy or evasive on stuff. I pretty much call it as it is. When we don't know, I say we don't know. I'm not smart enough to deal with all of that and I just kind of call it as it is and that's what I'll do here. We'll just see how the week goes."