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Patriots doctors clear Bruschi's return

DENVER (Oct. 16, 2005) -- 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 to return to practice this week, though the Patriots said the timetable for his return will be left up 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 stroke.

"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, only 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 he might return this season. He is eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list Oct. 17.

"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 has been upbeat in New England's locker room since the regular season began and has been a regular on the sideline at home games.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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