May 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Michigan TE Jake Butt improving, could make early-season return

John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)

Michigan’s offense took a hit in February when sophomore tight end Jake Butt tore an anterior cruciate ligament, but perhaps his potential return the first month of the season doesn’t seem so out of line.

Butt wrote on Twitter that he is making progress.

“Went for my first little run yesterday and my knee feels great!” Butt wrote Wednesday.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who said Butt was emerging as a leader during spring practice even though he was held out of practice, has said that while he won’t put a definitive timeline on Butt’s return, it could be early this season.

Hoke said the timeline for Butt should be similar to that of linebacker Jake Ryan, who tore his ACL a year ago and returned to practice after a six-month recovery and played at Penn State seven months after the injury.

“I would think to really have him back where you’d want him, it probably would be game three or four,” Hoke said this spring of Butt. “So it is similar in some ways to (Ryan), but we’ll just have to see. Everybody heals differently.”

Michigan faces Miami (Ohio) the third game of the season on Sept. 13 and Utah on Sept. 20. The Wolverines open the Big Ten season in Game 5 against Minnesota.

Butt finished his freshman season with 20 catches for 235 yards.

To help shore up the position with Butt sidelined this spring, defensive lineman Keith Heitzman was moved to tight end.