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Ann Arbor — A few weeks ago, Michigan cornerback Ambry Thomas wasn’t even practicing. He had been diagnosed with colitis, had lost a considerable amount of weight that he regained, and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh detailed how Thomas would have to meet various milestones in his recovery before he could be cleared to play.

But Thomas got the all-clear about a week and a half ago and was able to jump into game-week preparations this week as the Wolverines zeroed in on their first opponent, Middle Tennessee State.

Thomas got the start Saturday night and played remarkably well for someone who had so far to come physically. He finished with two tackles, an interception and recovered of a fumble forced by Aidan Hutchinson.

“It felt real good. (The interception) built my confidence,” Thomas said after Michigan’s 40-21 win. “My confidence wasn’t there because through practice, I ain’t really get enough camp in me. I was probably really practicing since Monday full-go practice. It feels good to get my confidence up there and feels good to be out there with my brothers.”

Harbaugh said everyone was thrilled to have Thomas back and healthy.

“It felt good for all of us, everybody on the team, to see him having that success when he got the interception and then he was there to pounce on the fumble,” Harbaugh said. “Had some really good plays in coverage. Made some tackles. Good to see him out there playing, having fun. That was the best part of it, seeing the smile on his face.”

Earlier in camp, Harbaugh detailed that Thomas essentially had a checklist and he needed to meet what the doctors laid out.

“He was doing physical activity beside practicing and he was hitting the different milestone the doctors had put in place for him to be able to return to play,” Harbaugh said. “He was in shape and saw very little drop-off to his football play when he did come back. Strength staff, doctors, (all) did a great job.”

Thomas was full-go last Monday.

“They started getting me back in the rotation, getting my reps to where they need to be to get ready for the game,” he said.

He said he anticipated the interception.

“They ran the play a couple plays before, and I knew if they threw it to my side on that play I was going to pick it,” Thomas said. “I just had to make a play on the ball and I did. We needed some of those big plays because we were kinda struggling at first. Nobody was settled down. We emphasize start the game fast, and I think that’s something we need to work on. Everybody made plays, and it felt good to be out there.”

For Thomas, being out there had even more meaning.

“I put my trust in God,” he said. “It was a little adversity I fought through. That’s all it was.”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis

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