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Could Jake Ryan Return for the Michigan Wolverines in 2013?

Raj Mehta – USA TODAY Sports

When Jake Ryan went down with an ACL injury during spring practice, it looked to be a devastating blow to the Michigan Wolverines on defense in 2013. The team quickly made moves to try and ease the loss during spring practices, but there was no questioning the impact of Ryan’s injury, no matter how long it lasts. But after a quick surgery, could Ryan play again next season?

The star linebacker underwent surgery on Thursday to repair his torn ACL, just nine days after sustaining the injury in practice. That turnaround is much quicker than many anticipated as doctors must often wait on swelling in the joint to go down before performing the operation. When cornerback Blake Countess went down with an ACL injury last fall, the team waited a whole month before doctors operated on the knee.

Head coach Brady Hoke remains optimistic that Ryan could make a return next season while talking with reporters.

“We’re being very optimistic. (But) I can’t make those predictions. I’m not qualified.

“I think everybody’s different. Nine months to 12 months, some people say – some people say six to nine. I think it just depends on the individual.”

There have certainly been plenty of recent examples of players making faster-than-expected returns from knee injuries and having a major impact. Adrian Peterson tore his ACL in Week 16 of the 2011 NFL season and returned in week one and went on to rush for more than 2,000 yards for the Minnesota Vikings. Robert Griffin III underwent a similar surgery after his injury in the NFL Playoffs and many accounts from the Washington Redskins have him on pace to also start in the opening week next season.

But it isn’t just professional athletes making speedy recoveries. Marcus Lattimore suffered a gruesome knee injury during the 2012 season with the South Carolina Gamecocks where he tore multiple ligaments in his knee. He underwent surgery and recovered quickly enough to go through a full workout for NFL scouts, which ended in the room giving him a round of applause.

There seem to be extraordinary athletes who have made extraordinary recoveries from knee injuries like this one, so is Jake Ryan the next physical freak to defy expectations? Will Michigan get their leading tackler back next fall?

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