Persa ready to return for Northwestern

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EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa appears ready to return from a ruptured Achilles' tendon.

Coach Pat Fitzgerald says he "fully" anticipates Persa will play Saturday at No. 24 Illinois, but how much will be determined "in how the week goes." Fitzgerald spoke Monday at his weekly news conference.

Getting Persa back should give the Wildcats (2-1) a big boost. Billed as a Heisman candidate by the school, he has not played since a win over Iowa last November that saw him throw the winning touchdown and crumble to the ground, clutching his right leg, as he turned to run toward his celebrating teammates.

Kain Colter started the first three games this season in Persa's place.