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November 18, 2010MADISON - John Clay, who missed last week's win over Indiana, will miss his second consecutive game this weekend when Wisconsin travels to Michigan.
Still working on recovering from a bruised MCL, Clay has been unable to practice at full go this week and will watch Saturday's game at the 'Big House' from the sidelines.
"He did a little bit more at the beginning of practice today," Bielema said. "Then they went down for conditioning. He might go through some stuff tomorrow but we'll probably just use him as a reserve role on Saturday."
When freshman James White suffered the same injury earlier in the season it took him three weeks to fully recover. Originally suffering the injury at Iowa, it took the bye week and the game against Purdue to regain full health.
If Clay is on the same recovery path, he should be good to go for the regular season finale against Northwestern.
When asked whether Clay's injury had worsened, Bielema made it clear that wasn't the case.
"It's not worse than expected," Bielema said. "He can't go until that thing heals up. Last week he really didn't do anything. Monday we ran around for the first time and today he looked pretty good on the side. We didn't him in any live stuff, but today all his cuts and runs were 100 percent no pain so we'll move forward."
Other than Clay it seems as though the Badgers are healthy entering the stretch run. Peter Konz is set to return to action after missing last week against Indiana. Bill Nagy will start against the Wolverines, but Konz will likely see action.
"Pete's okay," Bielema said. "We kind of rested a couple guys today. We've been resting guys, Konz and a couple of defensive linemen, on Thursdays' just to make sure they're fresh for Saturday."
-On a complete side note, backup quarterback Curt Phillips is scheduled to undergo surgery in Alabama with Dr. Andrews on his knee tomorrow. Following the procedure Phillips will go home for the Thanksgiving holiday before rejoining the team for the finale against Northwestern.
Learning from the past:
When Bielema was a defensive coordinator in 2004 Wisconsin started the season 9-0 and needed to win only one of the final two games of the season to clinch a trip to Pasadena. Now, with the way things are aligning for UW, it seems as though the team is in a similar situation. The only difference being the Badgers will probably need to win each of their next two games.
Though Bielema has a hard time remembering any talk of a title that season, there are parallels.
"I was thinking about that the other day," Bielema said. "I don't ever remember talking about it that year. I don't know if that was Coach Alvarez's philosophy. I just don't remember it being talked about. I think more after the fact (you think about it). That was never in my mind frame. I think as a head coach you probably think a little bit different.
"I really liked the way our guys have handled and approached that because I don't think they're worried about anything but Michigan."
Bielema on whether he'd ever play a game with his shoes untied.
"I was slow enough as it is. I needed everything laced up. That's been an interesting story. I remembered that from high school. We recruited a lot down there so I had heard about him. To see it come full circle into what he's doing right now is pretty special."
The following is the audio and video file from Bielema's presser: