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ANN ARBOR — Brady Hoke didn’t deflect any questions about the health of the Michigan football team’s starting quarterback.
A day after Devin Gardner attended the annual Michigan Football Bust in Livonia, Mich., on crutches and wearing a heavy walking boot on his left leg, UM’s football coach football coach explained Gardner's injury.
“He’s got some turf toe, and we’re just trying to be precautionary and getting him healthy,” Hoke said Tuesday.
Hoke said he does not have any concerns about the possibility of the quarterback missing Michigan’s bowl game later this month, yet he also said Gardner will not practice this week. Michigan (7-5) practiced Tuesday and will practice Thursday, two of its 14 scheduled practices before it faces Kansas State (7-5) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Dec. 28 in Tempe, Ariz.
“He’s a tough guy, and he’s demonstrated that through the year,” Hoke said. “The best medicine for it is to rest, and we want to rest him as best as we can.
“He’s played a number of snaps, so he knows the offense. Obviously, we’re getting ready for a game, but he’s into the game plan.”
Gardner threw for 2,960 yards and ran for 483 in 12 games this season and has not been made available to the media since the Wolverines’ 42-41 loss to No. 7 Ohio State on Nov. 30 at Michigan Stadium. The redshirt junior wore a walking boot on his left leg following the loss and did not go into detail about the nature of his injury.
“He’s doing good,” UM receiver Jeremy Gallon said of Gardner. “He’s never lost his character or how he is as a person. He’s helping the younger guys and giving them input on everything, and he’s helping the coaches with the younger guys.
“I always knew he was a tough guy, but now I know even more. With him going out and playing through his injury, or whatever, it shows how tough he really can be.”
Hoke would not speculate on how long Gardner would sit out practices in preparation for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Hoke also said that redshirt sophomore quarterback Russell Bellomy has been cleared to practice; Bellomy tore an ACL during spring practices and underwent surgery in May.
Despite Gardner’s injury, the Wolverines are reaping the benefits of not having to prepare for the physicality of a game on a weekly basis — UM has four weeks between its final regular-season game and its bowl game against Kansas State.
“My forehead’s a lot better, and I didn’t even bleed today during practice,” said left tackle Taylor Lewan, who has sported a large gash on his forehead through the bulk of this season. “Everyone’s getting a little healthier. Our practices are shorter, but they’re intense, quick, a lot of focus and a lot of energy. And I feel a lot better than I did probably when we played Ohio [State], but that’s just part of the season. You get beat up during the season.”
LUND DIES AT 90: Don Lund, a three-sport star at Michigan and a former coach and administrator, died Tuesday of natural causes in Detroit.
A Detroit native, Lund earned three letters each in football, baseball, and basketball and played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, St. Louis Browns, and Detroit Tigers. Lund coached baseball at Michigan and was the Tigers’ director of player personnel and the Tigers farm system. Michigan announced Lund’s death on Tuesday.