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September 29, 2009After missing the past three weeks due to a thyroid condition, offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga should be back on the field Saturday for the Iowa Hawkeyes. The 6-foot-6, 312-pounder has been listed as day to day ever since missing the Iowa State game on September 12. Today, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz announced that Bulaga has finally been cleared to play again during his weekly press conference.
"Bryan Bulaga was cleared yesterday to resume full activity, including playing, so unless some unforeseen circumstance takes place, I think we're in good shape there," said Ferentz.
Bulaga, a junior from Illinois, was listed as being out with a medical condition without any other details up until now, but Ferentz confirmed today that it was his thyroid.
"He 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, but the good news is it's an illness that hit. It passed in time with proper supervision. He had great care, obviously."
Redshirt freshman Riley Reiff has filled in at left tackle in Bulaga's absence and done well enough to help the Hawkeyes start 4-0, but getting a projected future NFL draft pick back into the lineup should help Iowa's offense going forward.
"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," said Ferentz. "I think all the drama has been resolved. It's been very frustrating for him, certainly. 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."
Ferentz said Bulaga would likely start on Saturday against Arkansas State as long as he has a good week of practice, although he may rotate with Reiff as he works his way back into game shape.