When it comes to a timeline for the return of Jake Butt, another Michigan Jake seems to be a good place to start.
March 19 of last year, star linebacker Jake Ryan suffered a torn ACL in the midst of spring practice. Nearly seven months later, Ryan returned to the playing field for the sixth game of the season against Penn State Oct. 12. Fast-forward to Butt, who suffered his own torn ACL tear during winter conditioning workouts shortly before the announcement of the injury Feb. 13.
When asked Wednesday about the time frame for Butt’s returned, head coach Brady Hoke used Ryan and his recovery as a reference point.
“I haven’t really sat down and talked with the doctors, because (Butt) just had (the surgery), but he’ll work hard just like Jake did,” Hoke said. “I would think, though, to really have him back where you’d want him, it probably would be game three or four. So it is similar in some ways to (Ryan), but we’ll just have to see. Everybody heals differently.”
The Wolverines open the 2014 season at home against Appalachian State (uh-oh) before traveling to Notre Dame; barring some sort of miracle, those two games could very well be ruled out. The third and fourth games of the new year come Sept. 13 against Miami of Ohio and Sept. 20 vs. Utah. With the Big Ten opener a week later against Minnesota, UM could err on the side of caution and target that late-September date for a return.
The sooner Butt returns, though, the better for UM’s offense. As a true freshman in 2013, Butt finished third on the team in receptions (20), yards (235) and touchdowns (two). Butt was a four-star member of UM’s 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 5 tight end in the country.