'No medical reasons' for Bruschi to delay return

DENVER -- New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi has
been cleared by team doctors and could return to practice this
week, eight months after suffering a mild stroke.

Bruschi, 32, originally planned to take a year off after the
stroke in February and surgery to repair a small hole in his heart
a month later. But as his health improved, Bruschi started
traveling to see specialists and got favorable reports.

Bruschi was cleared Sunday to return to practice this week,
though the Patriots said the timetable for his return will be left
up to him and his family.

"Physically, Tedy is completely back to normal, and is
completely healthy," said Dr. David Greer, a specialist from
Massachusetts General Hospital who has monitored Bruschi since his

"I have no doubt that he will be able to perform physically at
a very high level. Tedy's safety, on and off the field, has always
been our number one priority. At this time, I have advised him
that, in my opinion, there are no medical reasons for him to delay
his return to football."

Bruschi was rushed to a hospital after complaining of numbness
in his left arm and left leg on Feb. 16, just two days after his
first career Pro Bowl and 10 days after New England won its third
Super Bowl in four years. Bruschi told The Boston Globe that
doctors believe the stroke was the result of a blood clot that
traveled through a small hole in his heart, which was surgically
repaired in March.

The Patriots never put Bruschi in the injured list, leaving open
the possibility that he might return this season. He is eligible to
come off the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday.

Once Bruschi begins practice, which he is expected to do as early as Wednesday, the Patriots will have 21 days to decide whether to activate him or place him on injured reserve, thus ruling him out for the season, ESPN.com's Michael Smith reports.

"The Patriots organization is satisfied that Tedy Bruschi has
received the best medical attention possible and has been assured
that he is medically cleared to resume his player career," the
Patriots said in a statement.

Bruschi has worked out regularly and attended defensive meetings
at the team's training facility since before training camp began in
July. He's been upbeat in New England's locker room since the
regular season began and has been a regular on the sideline at home

"He is a great guy, a presence on the field and in the locker
room," Patriots fullback Patrick Pass said. "It's up to him and
his family on when, and if, he is going to make a return to

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.