As Dan Persa jogged from drill to drill on Monday, it was clear something just wasn't right.
It's been more than ten months since the Wildcats' senior quarterback injured his Achilles against Iowa. Now with 12 days remaining till Northwestern takes on Boston College, Persa was limping. NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald isn't concerned.
"Your limp may be somebody else's pimp walk," Fitzgerald joked in reference to Persa's limp. "It just depends how you look at it."
So is Persa just walking with the "pimp walk", or is he actually walking with a limp.
"A little bit (of a limp)," said Persa. "People say that to me all the time. I think it's just nine months of walking like that, it's tough to get it out of my head."
However, Persa says he has not felt any pain in his Achilles and his limp is not an issue.
"The past couple weeks have been pain-free, which is encouraging," Persa said. "It gets exponentially better every day. I'm just looking forward to tomorrow and getting back out."
Through two weeks of camp, Persa has participated in every practice, excluding the scrimmage on Saturday, which he was given a day off.
Persa has been limited through each practice, but has not been held out in any drills with the team. Often times in practice, Persa has spent some time working on his rehab. Coach Fitzgerald says Persa's return has been a daily development.
"He's progressing," Fitzgerald said of Persa. "Is he going to be a finished product tomorrow? We'll just take it day-by-day. He is increasing his volume of running every day. Is he going to look the same right away? No. He's getting better, so we'll take it day-by-day."
Persa has also dealt with the injury on a day-by-day basis while testing the limits of his leg.
"A lot of times, you hit a wall," Persa said. "The next day, you do something you weren't even close to doing yesterday. It's tough to put limitations over expectations on something like this."
The Wildcats kick off the season in less than two weeks. Barring a setback, Persa is going to be the starting quarterback. Persa says he is putting pressure on himself to make sure this happens.
As far as long-term goals go, Persa never setup a timetable for his recovery. Instead, he just focused on working hard and getting back on the field. Through two weeks of preseason camp, that hard work has paid off.
"I didn't really have that many expectations," said Persa. "I just said I was going to work as hard as I can. Where I end up, I end up."