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Jeff Kolpack, Published November 27 2012

Bruhn back at practice for NDSU

FARGO – It’s been a medical obstacle course that Garrett Bruhn could never have imagined. Especially in his senior season at North Dakota State, when going out with your most productive year is always the goal.

On Tuesday, the veteran tight end went back to practice whether he was fully healed from a severely sprained ankle or not.

“No matter what, I’m going to take reps,” he said. “The time is now.”

The time is Saturday with the Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff matchup against South Dakota State. Bruhn was named a team captain in August, but the season has been a battle since.

Nerve damage in his shoulder threatened to end his career before the first game, but that injury was downgraded before the season opener against Robert Morris University.

He had a big catch for 23 yards in a win at Colorado State, but left that game with a sprained MCL and ACL in his knee. He thought he blew it out.

Like the shoulder problem, he returned much sooner than anticipated, only to leave the Youngstown State game on Oct. 6 with a high ankle sprain.

“It’s been a rough one,” Bruhn said. “There’s not much I can do. I’ve had some unfortunate plays where I got sideswiped or just put in unfortunate situations. I’ve had to keep truckin’ along.”

He’s contributed in captain’s meetings and offensive team meetings, something that senior center, and fellow captain, Joe Lund said has been valuable.

“It’s too bad his senior year he’s not getting to play,” Lund said.

He was the fifth-leading receiver a year ago with 11 receptions. His one catch against CSU stands as his only one in four games this season.

“He’s going to give it a shot,” said head coach Craig Bohl. “He brings experience and ability. We have very few seniors so it’s great to have him back today.”

Bruhn said an ankle break would have gotten back on the field sooner. The ligament damage in his ankle has taken longer to heal.

“I’ve done everything I could do,” he said. “Just being around the team has helped me get through everything. You have 100 brothers and that’s what you kind of live for.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia