Clay went through the early parts of practice Thursday before going through conditioning work, according to Bielema. Clay left Thursday's practice in street clothes.
"He might go through stuff tomorrow, but he'll probably be in a reserve role," Bielema said. "It's not worse than expected, but he can't go until everything's (healthy). Last week, he really didn't do anything and Monday he ran around for the first time. Today he looked good on the side, but we didn't put him in any live stuff. Today, all the cuts and runs were 100 percent (with) no pain, so we move forward."
Clay ranks third in the Big Ten and 18th in the country with 103.2 rushing yards, but hasn't played since spraining his MCL in the third quarter of Wisconsin's 34-13 win at Purdue Nov.6. The Badgers didn't need him Saturday, as UW rolled up 338 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in the 83-20 win over Indiana.
"John is a competitor (and) he doesn't like sitting out," Bielema said. "As a running back, you don't like to see other people running the ball when you know you can get that chance. I can't argue with the way he's handle all the rehab, putting in the time and efforts. My guess is you'll see him back next week."
Sophomore Montee Ball rushed for a career-high 167 yards and three touchdowns in Clay's place and freshman James White, who missed the Purdue game because of a MCL sprain, added 144 yards and two scores.
"He just had to get an opportunity, did some good things at the beginning of the year … and it's hard to get those three guys in there," Bielema said of Ball. "He's taken advantage of every rep."
From the Infirmary
After originally staying it would take a miraculous recovery for him to play, Bielema said sophomore Peter Konz has sufficiently recovered from an ankle injury and will make the trip to Michigan, although senior Bill Nagy will start at center.
Curt Phillips left today to fly down to Alabama to have ACL surgery performed by the renowned Dr. James Andrews tomorrow. According to Bielema, Phillips will spend Thanksgiving with his family in Tennessee and return the following week.
It's been a busy two weeks for Antonio Fenelus. Leading the team with three interceptions and eight passes defended, Fenelus is coming off his first touchdown, a 36-yard interception return against Purdue, and his first child, a son named AJ, early last week.
Fenelus and UW sophomore softball player Jordan Skinner had a son a week ago Wednesday.
"Antonio has always handled his business pretty good," Bielema said. "We knew that was going to come in the middle of the season. With the way it handled it has been pretty good and the way he's been playing says a lot about his maturity."
Forced to move inside Thursday due to the beginning of the WIAA State Championships, Bielema fondly recalled his first experience with the high school players in Camp Randall during the 2004 season.
"(Shell Lake High) came running out on the field at 7:30 in the morning going nuts," Bielema said. "When they came out in their uniforms, they all had orange camouflage hand packs because they are all hunting kids. It was fun and neat to see."
By rule, Bielema could only see certain amount of teams and couldn't watch the game if he had been into their school this fall. The head coach was spotted on the sidelines during the Division 6 Championship game, presumably to watch Fond Du Lac Springs athlete and UW commit Eric Steffes. His Ledges were defeated by Regis, 6-3, and Steffes managed one catch for eight yards and one tackle.