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Ann Arbor — Michigan could see the return of several key defensive players on Saturday when Big Ten play opens.

The fourth-ranked Wolverines (3-0) face Penn state at Michigan Stadium.

Will All-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis finally be available? Lewis has missed all three games while dealing with a back issue that has contributed to hamstring and quad problems. 

Lewis was in uniform last Saturday but did not play.

"We knew he wouldn't be playing this past ball game," Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday at his weekly news conference. “Hopefully, he'll play this week."

Michigan has been without defensive linemen Taco Charlton and Bryan Mone since they were injured in the season opener. Harbaugh said it's possible the two could return against Penn State.

Last week, Michigan defensive backs coach Mike Zordich said Lewis has been frustrated not being able to play. Harbaugh said that’s common for competitors.



“Just personally, I’ve found that the only time football isn’t fun is when you don’t win and also if you’re just not 100 percent,” Harbaugh said. “If you have a broken leg or arm, that’s one thing. It’s just bad luck and you’re out. 

“But when it’s that nagging thing that you’re deal with and it’s not broke but it’s just as real … he’s doing a fantastic job. The guy’s been a real stud in everything that he’s done in the offseason and everything he’s doing now to put himself in position to have success. He’s all been A++. And we’re very hopeful that this is the week he can get back on the field and play and reap some of the reward from all that hard work he’s put in.”

angelique.chengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis