Injuries to UM's Peoples-Jones, Dwumfour more serious than first thought

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor – Injuries to Michigan receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and defensive lineman Michael Dwumfour are more serious than first thought.

Donovan Peoples-Jones

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who offered a rundown of the Wolverines’ spring practice depth chart during a news conference Wednesday, said the injuries, while they don’t require surgery, are concerning. Peoples-Jones has what Harbaugh described as a “soft-tissue” groin injury, while Dwumfour suffered a torn plantar fascia just before the bowl game in late December.

“Both have not participated very much in any practice or all winter,” Harbaugh said of Peoples-Jones and Dwumfour. “The concern is that, and the worry, really, is that it’s more serious (regarding) if they can get back to their previous form and level.”

Peoples-Jones, was the team’s leading receiver last season with 612 yards on 47 catches and eight touchdowns. He also was the Wolverines’ top punt returner. Dwumfour had 21 tackles and three sacks.

Harbaugh was asked if the injuries could be an issue for the upcoming season and whether they could hold them out for a period of time.

“It could,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always been the kind of coach, but also when I played, I put a lot of stock in what a player, how their body feels, how they respond. The feedback, all the indications we’re getting is that they really can’t do much at all. You always hope for the best.”

Dwumfour clarified his injury in a Twitter post on Wednesday afternoon and said he tore the plantar fascia in the game against Maryland but played through the injury.

“I don’t know where this false information is coming from,” he wrote. “Rehab is going great I will be back healthy very soon in Jesus name!!”

Michael Dwumfour

Receiver Nico Collins, who also has not available this spring because of surgery just before the start of practice, is progressing well.

“Watched him run yesterday,” Harbaugh said. “He’s right on track in his rehab.”

With the thin depth at receiver this spring, freshman Mike Sainristil has turned heads and is considered a starter along with Oliver Martin and Tarik Black. Freshman Erick All, a tight end, also has played some at receiver, Harbaugh said. Also, receiver Jake McCurry underwent surgery on Tuesday for a broken foot and receiver Nate Schoenle has been slowed by injury, Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh was forthcoming with injuries during the news conference and shared several ahead of Saturday’s open practice at Michigan Stadium. Cornerback Lavert Hill had surgery in the offseason and is progressing well, and Harbaugh said it is possible he will be able to participate before spring drills conclude.

Inside linebacker Josh Ross has been out with a hamstring injury, and like Hill could return before the end of spring. Harbaugh said Jordan Anthony has filled in nicely at that spot.

Christian Turner was expected to be the talked-about running back this spring, but he also has a hamstring issue beginning with the second practice that has held him out. Harbaugh said he may be back by Sunday or by the following Friday practice and get in four or five practices.

Early-enrollee freshman Zach Charbonnet has been out after a minor knee procedure that was planned before he arrived here. And Hassan Haskins, who has been with the running backs exclusively this spring, also has missed some practices because of a meniscus issue. Harbaugh said Haskins has been trying to get through spring practice but likely will undergo a procedure after. Tru Wilson has been the first-team running back with Ben VanSumeren as the backup.

Who’s the kicker?

Quinn Nordin entered last season as Michigan’s kicker and by the end, freshman Jake Moody had taken over and established himself in the Indiana game – Nordin was ill and not available – making all six field-goal attempts.

Now, the two are in the midst of quite a competition during spring practice. Harbaugh didn’t have exact statistics but said both have been extremely consistent and have missed one, maybe two kicks apiece.

“It’s neck-and-neck right now,” Harbaugh said. “Charting all the kicks, it’s extremely close. Quinn’s like 15-of-17 or 16-of-17, and Jake Moody is 15-of-16 or 15-of-17. They’re right there, neck-and-neck, so it’s a good competition going on at kicker.”

Harbaugh on transfers

Harbaugh said he’s not “actively looking” daily at the transfer portal, and he’s not overly opinionated on the topic, but he does believe the NCAA needs to make a decision about the transfer policy. Should players sit a year? Should they get a pass for one transfer during their college careers?

He simply wants a clear decision.

“Because we’re in an abyss in terms of that right now,” Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh has been in favor of the rule change last year that allows a player to participate in four games and still have a redshirt. But he believes there should be a twist.

“There should be a retroactive for those players that are juniors, seniors and possible fifth-years because right now I believe there’s a hard line on them, even though you have a new rule,” he said. “If a player only played in one game or two games or played toward the end of the season but now they’re a junior or a senior, they should be under the same eligibility. It should be grandfathered in like those are that played this past season. Hopefully people come to the logic of that.”