Bulaga could start for Iowa Saturday

Updated: September 29, 2009, 3:34 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com

After registering a huge road win against Penn State this past weekend, No. 13 Iowa received more good news as star left tackle Bryan Bulaga was medically cleared to play.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday that Bulaga could reclaim his starting spot Saturday against Arkansas State after missing the last three games with a thyroid condition. The junior from Crystal Lake, Ill., was briefly hospitalized three weeks ago after the condition surfaced.

"How much he plays, I don't know," Ferentz told reporters in Iowa City. "If he's ready to go, we'll start him.

"The good news is now he's been cleared. We don't anticipate any further problems, and he won't be on medication the rest of his life or any of that kind of stuff, which was all a possibility at the front end. I think all the drama has been resolved."

Redshirt freshman Riley Reiff has filled in well for Bulaga the last three games and would get the start if Bulaga can't go. Bulaga earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last season and has drawn comparisons to other elite Iowa offensive linemen such as Robert Gallery and Marshal Yanda.

"[Bulaga] had a thyroid condition, and the good news is it was something that just passes," Ferentz said. "It could have been a little bit more extensive than that, and they'd have to go through a series of checks to make those decisions and what have you.

"It's been very frustrating for him, certainly. All of us, but mostly he. He wanted to be out there playing. It was killing him not to be out there. Now he gets to get back into action, so we're really happy for him."

Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com.

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