"It's just that right now it's tough because we're in the middle of the season," he said. "We don't really have that time."
Because Burkhead has aggravated the injury twice, against Ohio State and Northwestern, Pelini doesn't want the running back to play again until he's 100 percent.
"When he's right, when he feels like he's ready to go, believe me, I'll be the first one to stand on the table and say, 'Let's go, let's go,' " Pelini said. "That has to come from him. He knows his body. We have the best medical staff going, so when the time is right, then they'll tell me."
Even with Burkhead out most of the season, the Huskers are first in the Big Ten and seventh nationally with 269 yards rushing a game. The Huskers have gone over 200 yards in nine of their 10 games and over 300 on three occasions.
Quarterback Taylor Martinez said there hasn't been a drop-off without Burkhead, but the Huskers do miss his leadership on the field.
"When he's on the field, all the fans are excited and our team is excited he's out there," Martinez said.
Burkhead said he's gained a new perspective from watching from the sidelines.
"Definitely makes you appreciate the game. No question about it," he said. "You always have love and passion for the game. When you're not out there getting a taste of it, it definitely makes you just have a new outlook on it. When you get back out there you want to hit it full stride."