After ‘grieving,’ Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson working back from torn ACL

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Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson passes against Kentucky in the first quarter of the Music City Bowl. (AP)

Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson is throwing in spring practice, is lifting weights and even has gained back 10 pounds after his surgery in mid-January to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, coach Pat Fitzgerald said Tuesday.

Fitzgerald said he expects Thorson — who was injured in the first quarter of the Music City Bowl — to play most, if not all, of his senior year, but he wouldn’t give a timetable for Thorson’s return. The Wildcats open Aug. 30 at Purdue.

‘‘Everybody asks me, ‘So what’s the timetable?’ ’’ Fitzgerald said at NU’s pro day. ‘‘That’s none of anybody’s business because we’re not going to put one on him. We’re going to take it kind of day by day through his rehab and week by week. My expectation is he’ll able to go — just like his is — and we’ll adjust accordingly. We’ll err on the side of being smart and cautious.

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‘‘This is not going to be the last year that Clayton Thorson is going to play football. We’re going to make sure we do things right by him, by his family and by our program.’’

When coaches came back from recruiting earlier this year, they noticed Thorson was frustrated by the injury, Fitzgerald said.

‘‘I think the initial shock of any injury for any athlete is really, really tough,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘It’s almost like grieving. You kind of lost your ability to play. You go through those grieving stages, and once you get back up and mobile . . .

‘‘It’s a process to get back. He’ll be back and ready to go. I think he’s ready and poised to have another great year.’’

After posting a 4.52-second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, Wildcats all-time rushing leader Justin Jackson didn’t run Tuesday but did perform drills in front of NFL scouts.

Defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster, who is pondering a move to the offensive line, worked out at both positions and impressed scouts by doing 36 bench-press reps. That would have ranked fourth among all participants at the combine.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.


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