ANN ARBOR - As is usually the case with the Michigan football program, the truth regarding injuries and other behind-the-scenes details are often slow to emerge, but eventually the real story does come out.
Yesterday was no different, as Michigan quarterback Chad Henne revealed he has been recovering from a right shoulder separation suffered three weeks ago at Illinois.
"It's just a slight [separation], not one that needs surgery or anything," Henne said. "It slides back and forth and clicks in and out. It's definitely a painful injury."
Henne said the injury is similar to the one New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning suffered earlier this season but was able to return the following week from.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said the senior signal caller did not throw at all in practice leadingup to Saturday's 28-24 win at Michigan State, in which he threw four touchdown passes, with the exception of some light throwing with a trainer on Thursday.
Henne said he is nearly back to 100 percent of his normal playing capacity and that he intends to throw in practice this week before the No. 13 Wolverines' road trip to Wisconsin.
Along with the shoulder injury, Henne dealt with a right knee injury that kept him out of two games earlier in the season and will require him to wear a protective brace the remainder of the season. He also tweaked his right ankle in the fourth quarter against the Spartans on Saturday when right guard Stephen Schilling stepped on him.
"I had a few words to say to Stephen," said Henne, who was named Big Ten offensive player of the week. "I was backing up just trying to get out of the way of the pressure, and I feel him step on my ankle. I'm like, 'What can go wrong now?'•"
Through it all, though, Henne has persevered.
"I think you're always fighting something here as a quarterback - the mental, the physical, the pressure - and you have to be able to deal with all of them," Carr said. "But we haven't had anybody that has suffered the injuries that Chad has had in their last year."
This recent plethora of injuries may be a new phenomenon for Henne at Michigan, but it's nothing he hasn't had to overcome in the past.
In his freshman year at Wilson High School in West Lawn, Pa., Henne said he dislocated his left shoulder in the final game of the regular season. After coming to the sideline in a great deal of pain, he checked back into the game only five plays later and threw a touchdown pass on his first throw.
Because of that experience, Henne knew when he was sandwiched by a pair of Illini defenders and driven to the turf three week ago that something wasn't right with his shoulder.
"As soon as I did it I was like, 'Oh, this isn't good,'•" Henne said. "It wasn't completely out. It kind of went back in itself. I stood up, and it felt alright. Then when I tried to pick my arm up, I knew something was tremendously wrong."
Still, he re-entered the game in the fourth quarter and commanded his second of three come-from-behind victories on the road this season.
"That's just the way I was raised," Henne said of the toughness he has shown this season.
"I've just learned to play every play like it's your last, because you never know when the next one could end your season."
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