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Michigan Wolverines Football: Don Brown Thinks Gary Is 'Very, Very Close'

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Michigan junior defensive end Rashan Gary has missed the last several games with a shoulder injury, but defensive coordinator Don Brown believes he’s close to returning. Head coach Jim Harbaugh, meanwhile, knows his star is doing what he can to get back on the field.

Rashan Gary
Rashan Gary (Brandon Brown)

Brown isn’t sure if he’ll have Gary back for Penn State, but he’s hopeful.

“We’ll see. I’m feeling good about him,” he said. “We’ll see where he’s at. I’m not the doctor, just a guy coaching. We’ll see though. I’m thinking very, very close.”

Gary’s mother, Jennifer Coney-Shepherd, reported last week that her son injured his shoulder days before the Notre Dame game and again at Northwestern. An MRI and CT scan resulted in doctors suggesting he stay out four to six weeks.

Harbaugh reiterated Wednesday on 97.1 The Ticket, Detroit that Gary was “working hard to get back out there,” putting to rest rumors that Gary was sitting out to protect his NFL Draft status.

"We’re very hopeful,” Harbaugh said. “People say what they say and sometimes it doesn't make any sense at all, but he’s doing his very best to get back on to the field. But we’re not playing anybody who’s injured, and we’re not playing anybody that doesn’t feel like they’re able to go out there and play. It's really that simple.”

Harbaugh’s words were misconstrued by some last week, causing confusion.

"I think it was completely a media miscommunication. I was asked the question, 'Why didn't Rashan play in the Michigan State game?' and I said, 'He didn’t feel like he could play,’” Harbaugh said. “And then somebody in the media quoted that as, 'Rashan didn’t feel like playing.' I mean, that’s a big difference … huge difference. It was offensive to what I said and also offensive to Rashan. Rashan’s mom, Jennifer, took it that way, and rightfully so.”

Saturday will be the fifth week since Gary last played. U-M has thrived with him and without him, No. 1 in the country in total defense and allowing an average of 199 yards and 13.6 points in the last three games, 220 yards and 14.4 points per game on the season.

Harbaugh said he loved watching Brown’s defense play.

“Oh, very much so. There's the old commercial jingle: 'Don Brown, you said it all.' That's what comes to mind,” he said. “He does an incredible job, and so many of our players are doing just great."

Harbaugh said it was also fair to assume redshirt freshman wide receiver Tarik Black would see more time Saturday. Senior Grant Perry said yesterday he looked like “the old Tarik” at practice, gaining more and more confidence playing after returning from a broken foot.

"I would assume that," Harbaugh said. "He’s practicing and doing well. We’re trying to get him back going again, for sure. He’s doing a really good job."


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