Fitzgerald says Persa planning to play

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EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald says quarterback Dan Persa plans to play against Rice this week.

Fitzgerald says Persa told him he expects to be ready after missing the second half of Saturday's win over Nebraska after having his left shoulder slammed to the ground in the second quarter by the Cornhuskers' Eric Martin.

Persa was on the sideline with his arm in a sling after halftime as Kain Colter led the Wildcats.

Sidelined the first three games while recovering from a torn right Achilles tendon, Persa left a game against Illinois because of soreness in that foot. He was also hobbled by a turf toe injury on his left foot against Penn State.

Fitzgerald said at his weekly news conference that Persa did some running on Monday.