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April 13, 2013 - 3:22pm

Hoke: Injured linebacker Jake Ryan could return by mid-October


Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Saturday that injured linebacker Jake Ryan could return some time in the middle of the 2013 season.

“I’m not a doctor, but possibly middle of October,” Hoke said on Ryan’s return date after Saturday’s Spring Game.

Ryan, Michigan’s most dynamic linebacker, tore his anterior cruciate ligament in practice on March 18 and has since undergone surgery. A mid-October return would put his recovery time at about seven months, unusually quick for an ACL injury.

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Blake Countess, for example, tore his ACL in Michigan’s 2012 opener on Sept. 1. Seven and a half months later, he didn’t play in Michigan’s Spring Game.

“Some people react differently,” Hoke said.

The return date, while speculative, would inject a defensive playmaker ahead of the Wolverines’ toughest stretch of the schedule. Prior to mid-October, Michigan will meet only one team ranked in last year’s final Associate Press Top-25 poll, Notre Dame. Beginning on Nov. 2, though, Michigan enters a five-week stretch in which it will play Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State, and also Iowa on the road.

Ryan earned second team All-Big Ten honors last year. He recorded 88 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. In Ryan’s absence, fifth-year senior Cameron Gordon started Saturday’s Spring Game at strong-side linebacker.