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"Whoever is back there is going to do the best he can," Michigan offensive tackle Mason Cole said about the team's quarterbacks. Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News

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Ann Arbor – Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters is in concussion protocol after taking a hard hit at Wisconsin Saturday and his availability for this week’s rivalry game against Ohio State is uncertain.

Harbaugh said Monday night on his radio show that Peters got encouraging news after his medical tests Monday

"He was 50 percent better so made great strides in the last 24 hours," Harbaugh said. "There's that hope, of course (that he can be cleared to play). It's totally in the doctors' hands and you hope for the best and we prepare both ways, that he'll be there or next man up."

If Peters is not cleared to play, John O’Korn will start. O’Korn has made four starts this season.

“John has remained diligent every single week to preparation and the game plan, always sitting on a spring ready to play,” Harbaugh said.

Meanwhile, pass-game coordinator Pep Hamilton said on the show that Wilton Speight practiced Monday in a "limited capacity" but wore a red jersey, meaning no contact.

Michigan plays No. 8 Ohio State (9-2, 7-1 Big Ten) on Saturday at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines (8-3, 5-3) have lost five straight to the Buckeyes.

Speight has been out since fracturing three vertebrae in the Purdue game Sept. 23, but practiced last week.

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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh talks about when he first got drawn into the rivalry with Ohio State. Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News

As for Peters, no concussion is the same, obviously, so players respond differently during the recovery process. Harbaugh earlier Monday described the concussion protocol in some detail on Monday when asked how late in the week Peters could be cleared and then eligible to play against Ohio State.

“There’s stages,” Harbaugh said. “If you want to know exactly what the stages are, as soon as he’s symptom-free, if that happens today, then he has to go to a day where he has exertion, does cardio and then lifting to be able to work up a sweat and exert yourself, and then you see if there are symptoms the next day.

“Once that occurs and come back that next day and there’s no symptoms, then he’d be allowed to practice without contact. That could happen as early as Wednesday, could happen as early as Thursday. Each case is different. Totally go by the doctors, the tests.

“Remember, (running back) Chris Evans had a concussion in a ball game and then played the next week. (Cornerback) Lavert (Hill) had a concussion and did not play the next week. It’s a matter of what the level is and what the doctors, neurologists (say). It’s in their hands.”

More: UM ready to put 'everything on the line' vs. Ohio State

Peters left the Wisconsin game with 2:13 left in the third quarter following a hard hit by linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel after releasing a throw on third down. Ginkel began to wave toward the Michigan sideline for medical assistance. Peters was on the field for a lengthy time looking listless. The Michigan players gathered together nearby as the medical staff tended to him.

In light of Speight’s injury at Purdue and the “train wreck” aftermath detailed by Speight’s father, Bobby, to The Detroit News, Peters’ injury at Wisconsin was handled flawlessly, as pointed out by a Michigan official on Monday. He was removed from the field by motorized cart, then transported to a wheelchair and was taken to the locker room. Because he required a CT scan for his head, Peters was taken by ambulance to the local hospital and then was transported to the airport to meet the team.

Hill suffered a concussion in the Minnesota game and did not play against Wisconsin. Hill was cleared on Sunday and will be available to face Ohio State.

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