Ann Arbor – Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed that defensive tackle Bryan Mone likely will be out for the season with a broken leg, but said running back Drake Johnson, who suffered a torn knee ligament in the final game last season, has been medically cleared.
Mone, who was expected to get major playing time at nose tackle, broke a bone in his lower leg on what Harbaugh described as a "freak play." Harbaugh met with media on Thursday for the first time in three weeks to advance the Wolverines' season opener at Utah next Thursday.
"He'll be out of this ball game and good chance he will miss the season," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said the injury, which happened early in camp, happened on a blocked field goal attempt.
"Freak play, never seen it before in practice or games," Harbaugh said. "We blocked a field goal attempt, the ball came onto the defensive side of the ball, which we shouldn't be returning that ball. Unfortunately that teaching moment came with one of our players picking it up, running around the edge, and Bryan was trying to lead block for him and they got their feet tangled up. When Bryan went down to the ground, his toe came down at an inopportune angle, and unfortunately a bone broke."
Johnson emerged as a top running back for the Wolverines late last season before suffering his second career torn anterior cruciate ligament. He has been accelerated in his injury rehabilitation.
"Drake is cleared practicing and I haven't decided whether he's going to play in this ball game or not, but he is ahead of schedule doing a fantastic job," Harbaugh said. "He's been getting bumped around, he's in practice. He's an explosive football player as you know, maybe better than I do, but I've been watching him lately, and I'm really excited about him."