UM defensive lineman Rashan Gary talks about getting ready to face No. 5 Wisconsin. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight, who hasn’t played since fracturing three vertebrae in the fourth game of the season, is cleared to practice but not ready for contact, so redshirt freshman Brandon Peters will make his third start of the season at No. 5 Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, the injury news regarding leading rusher Karan Higdon seems to be good, according to Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who offered some injury updates Monday during his weekly news conference.
Higdon left the Maryland game just before halftime last Saturday with what appeared to be an ankle injury. He walked on his own to the locker room. Higdon has 854 yards on 129 carries and scored 10 touchdowns this season and would be a boost for the Michigan offense heading into Saturday’s game at Camp Randall Stadium.
“Seems good,” Harbaugh said. “Seems like positive news and update.”
Running back Ty Isaac has missed the last two games and Harbaugh seemed upbeat about getting him back heading into the Wisconsin game. Isaac is the third leading rusher with 548 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think we’ve got positive news on him this week,” he said. “We’ll know more as the week goes.”
As for Speight, who was injured in the Big Ten opener at Purdue, his is unclear whether he will be available before the end of the regular season. After the Wolverines play Wisconsin, they will return home for the regular-season finale against Ohio State.
“Don’t know,” Harbaugh said when asked if Speight will have to sit out the final games. “I don’t make that determination. That will be made by the doctors.”
Starting right guard Mike Onwenu was dressed for the Maryland game but did not play, and freshman Cesar Ruiz made his second straight start at the position. Harbaugh said Onwenu wasn’t 100 percent.
“It benefited him not playing in the game, and he ‘ll be back this week I anticipate,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see who’s the best to play this week. Very happy with the job (Ruiz has) done.”
Cornerback Lavert Hill was diagnosed with a concussion in the Maryland game and it is uncertain whether he will be cleared to play at Wisconsin.
Tight end Nick Eubanks, also injured at Purdue, has the same status as Speight.
“They’ll practice, they’ll be in a red jersey, they won’t have contact,” Harbaugh said. “Don’t know if either one will be cleared by the time we get to the game on Saturday, but they will be reintroduced back into practice per the doctors clearance for being able to practice but not being able to have contact yet.”
Receiver Tarik Black, who suffered a broken foot early in the season and required surgery, is not expected to play in the final two games. Harbaugh said he could not predict whether he will be available for the bowl game.
“Not going to go to the crystal ball right now on that,” he said. “Really, just have the doctors make those decisions.”
Rashan Gary did not finish the Maryland game with an undisclosed injury, but he said Monday he’s fine.