As Nebraska junior quarterback Tanner Lee works through the concussion protocol, he will have to clear through progressive steps in order to move toward practicing and, eventually, being cleared to return to action.
Lee was not on the practice field Tuesday when the Huskers began practice — only the stretching periods are open to reporters — but head coach Mike Riley did say on Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference that his starter is making progress.
“I’m remaining optimistic but you know the protocol, it goes day to day,” he said. “He’s cleared one hurdle and so we go to the next one. He certainly won’t practice today and we’ll see what the next step brings, but I’m remaining optimistic.”
The NCAA outlines suggestions and best practices for concussion management. In its section on returning to play, the NCAA suggests light aerobic activities as a first step once a player “returns to baseline level of symptoms, cognitive function and balance.” If a player shows no symptoms with that step, light, sport-related activities follow before non-contact practicing.
Lee was hurt when a player fell on his head late in the first half Saturday against Minnesota.
In the open period, redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien warmed up with walk-on Andrew Bunch, who Riley said Monday will be the No. 2.
Freshman Tristan Gebbia, who is redshirting this season, wore a No. 9 jersey and also played catch. Gebbia will spend the week playing the role of Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley on the scout team.
Bunch has worked most of the season on the scout team.
“The one thing I will say about it is he’s in every quarterback meeting every day,” Riley said of Bunch “So as far as the intellect and academic part of it, I think he’s in touch with it. He hasn’t hardly had any reps running the offense, but he took his turns as the backup yesterday and, because of his yearlong preparation, did a rather nice job.”