Nelson cleared for takeoff

Riley Nelson suffered two broken ribs and a collapsed lung during the first quarter of the Idaho game. Five days later, Nelson made a surprise appearance at practice, and then five days after that he was suited up and practicing. On Tuesday he was also cleared to travel with the team to Hawaii, and he hopes to play.

BYU's version of Captain America has been recovering. Junior quarterback Riley Nelson is now hoping to play against Hawaii on December 3.

"Yeah, I was cleared for travel," Nelson said. "Then we have to kind of see what we think about the lung because it needs four weeks. The pulmonologist, or lung specialist, said four weeks and Hawaii's in three."

"To find out this early that he's going to be able to get on the plane after eight, nine, ten days after that injury is some pretty fast healing," said Coach Doman. "To me it's pretty miraculous that this is the case. The pulmonologist went up and saw that he could get on the plane."

Being cleared to fly this soon indicates that Nelson is making progress.

"We're obviously ahead of schedule and I didn't think I would be cleared this fast," said Nelson. "So, hopefully that means the deadline by which I can become cleared to play will be moved up a little bit."

With his rapid recovery, Nelson is hoping that he'll be able to take the field with his teammates against Hawaii. If he's going to fly to Hawaii, it's not because he's taking a vacation.

"If I'm going to make the trip, I want to play. I mean, as much as I want to go to Hawaii and sit on a beach, I'm too far behind in school, so I don't know if taking a vacation right now is the best thing for me. So yeah, if I'm going to make the trip I'm going to play."

"Well, he's a unique kid," said Doman with a smile. "I'm excited that he's feeling able to get on that plane and getting healthy. He hasn't been cleared to play yet, but he has been cleared to get on that plane."

During Tuesday's practice, Nelson was out on the field running the offense. A surprised and rather stunned Coach Doman just smiled at the fact that Nelson was back out there on the field running his offense after such an injury.

"Jake wasn't able to go [on Tuesday due to coming down with the flu], and so we got a chance to see Riley practice and see how he throws," Doman said with a grin. "I was quite blown away by how he performed. I've just been injured before and have broken a rib before and just know how much it hurts. You go to make a throw and it hurts bad. To be able to come out and do what he did on the practice field is pretty darn impressive."

So how did Nelson look? Well, his performance during practice further surprised BYU's offensive coordinator.

"I didn't know he was hurt," Doman said. "That's the honest truth, which is a tribute to him."

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