Michigan receiver Nico Collins said the Wolverines' pass plays will work against Michigan State. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News


Ann Arbor — Michigan receiver Tarik Black is getting close to returning, teammates Nico Collins and Shea Patterson said, and suggested that could be sooner than later, as in Saturday at Michigan State.

Black broke his right foot a week before the season opener at Notre Dame. He was in a boot for several weeks and met with his doctors the weekend of Oct. 6. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh would not discuss injuries on Monday.

Now, it’s quite possible Collins and Patterson were throwing out a bit of a smokescreen when it comes to Black’s potential return — but then again, maybe not. Black, who missed most of last season after breaking his left foot while leading the team in receiving through three games, suffered the more recent foot injury on Aug. 25 in a scrimmage. When Michigan plays at Michigan State on Saturday it will be eight weeks since his injury.

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Patterson, Michigan’s quarterback, was asked if Black could be back soon.

“Possibly, yeah, we’re not very sure yet,” Patterson said Tuesday night after practice. “Could be this week, could be next week, could be the week after that. I see him every single day and he’s working his tail off to get better.”

Collins, whose role expanded at receiver when Black was hurt, was asked Tuesday night how close Black is to returning to the field. Michigan is off next Saturday before returning to Michigan Stadium on Nov. 3 to face Penn State.

“He’s coming back. He coming,” Collins said. “We see him every day. Every day he’s improving. He’s out here running routes a little bit trying to get his groove back. I feel like he’s going to come back.”

Collins said he wasn’t sure if Black was running routes full speed.


Michigan safety Tyree Kinnel said the Wolverines are excited about the game against Michigan State, but can't get too "amped up." Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News

“He doing rehab,” he said. “We see him doing stuff on the treadmill, and he looked pretty good to me. Hopefully he come back soon. This week hopefully, next week even better.”

Black has been eager to get back on the field with the Wolverines.

“It’s been hurting him because he wants to join us bad,” Collins said. “I been telling him he’s going to come and we’re all going to come together as we did in camp. I feel like he going to come back.”