Bush's right leg '99 percent' healed in time for draft

Updated: April 18, 2007, 7:11 PM ET
Associated Press

Michael Bush is up and running, his broken right leg nearly fully healed just in time for the NFL draft.

The former Louisville star running back this week took part in his first full workout since he was hurt in September, and also received a thumbs-up prognosis from James Andrews, an Alabama-based orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports injuries.

"I reviewed an X-ray today and it looks like it is 99 percent healed," Andrews wrote in a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press. "I would estimate that Michael Bush will pick up in the NFL where he left off in college, and should be a top-ranked running back taken in the 2007 NFL draft."

The letter was released by Bush's agent, Todd France, who said he is forwarding Andrews' letter, Bush's most recent X-rays and a DVD from his client's workout to all 32 NFL teams. The workout was held at Louisville on Monday and filmed by school officials, France said.

The agent hopes the updated information will clear up any doubts about Bush's status going into the two-day draft on April 28-29.

"It's great news," France said. "It's huge. My thing was I wanted to take away any negative perceptions in people's minds where his health status is because he couldn't work out at the combine. Well, guess what, look at him now."

Bush was projected to be a Heisman Trophy candidate before he broke his leg in Louisville's season-opener against Kentucky in September. He was coming off a junior season in which he ran for 1,143 yards and an NCAA-leading 23 touchdowns.

Bush applied for a medical redshirt in case he decided to come back, but instead opted to enter the NFL draft.

The injury has led Bush's stock to fall in numerous draft projections, which peg him as a second- or third-round pick at best -- and well behind Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson and California's Marshawn Lynch.

Prior to being hurt, the 6-foot-1, 251-pound Bush was noted for running with both power and speed, while also being a capable receiver.

His recovery comes about a month after Bush had a second operation during which a new rod was inserted into his leg after the bone didn't heal quickly enough after the initial surgery.

"It is remarkable how quickly this has improved," Andrews wrote. "It certainly looks much better than it did some weeks ago."

Andrews said he also was impressed after viewing the workout, noting Bush took part in 100 yard runs, multiple ladder drills, jumped rope and did 225-pound squats.

The video was not made available to The Associated Press.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press