OKLAHOMA CITY — Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford will return from a sprained right shoulder and start for No. 19 Oklahoma on Saturday against Baylor.
Bradford missed the Sooners' last three games after spraining the AC joint in his throwing shoulder in a loss to BYU. Coach Bob Stoops said today that the quarterback has recovered enough to play in the team's Big 12 opener.
"Sam has had a great week of practice and is ready to play," Stoops said in a statement. "We're obviously excited to have him back."
Bradford said earlier in the week that he hoped to play against the Bears (3-1) so he could get a game under his belt before next week's rivalry game against No. 2 Texas in Dallas. But he also said there was a chance he could still need surgery on his shoulder in the offseason, creating doubt over how his recovery was going.
The Sooners have all but fallen out of the national championship race since Bradford's injury, suffering their second loss of the season last Saturday night at Miami.
Bradford said he still hadn't given up hope that Oklahoma could win the national title, the goal he set after deciding to skip the NFL draft and return to the Sooners after their run to the BCS championship game last season.
He said it would be selfish for him to sit out the rest of the season just because his team's national title hopes were slim and he could protect his shoulder.
"That's big for a guy like Sam to make the sacrifice that he made with the opportunity that he had in front of him to come back and work with us the next year," safety Sam Proctor said this week. "He's a very low-key guy, down-to-earth guy and that just says a lot about his character."
Bradford, considered a top NFL prospect, has been told there shouldn't be an elevated risk of re-injuring the shoulder by playing.
"I really don't think there's much concern for me taking a hit. From everything that I've received from the doctors, it's like taking any other hit. It can't do much more damage," Bradford said. "The odds of me hurting it now are just like the odds of me hurting it before anything happened to it."