AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - This one hurts. A lot.
The Michigan football program announced today that linebacker Jake Ryan is out indefinitely after tearing his ACL on Tuesday, and I can't imagine the pain that Ryan is going through after tearing his ACL earlier this week during the Michigan football team's spring practices.
Even more so, this is going to hamper Michigan's defense. Entering the spring, Ryan had solidified his role as the heart of Michigan's linebacking corps with a breakout 2012 season and was seemingly poised to be the leader of the Wolverines' defense. Instead, the unit takes a noticeable hit and while Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said last week he initially wanted a more mobile, versatile linebacking unit, Michigan instead will be forced to get resourceful with its linebackers. Be careful what you wish for, right?
On statistics alone, Ryan led the Wolverines in 2012 with a 13-game total of 88 tackles - including 54 solo - 16 tackles for a loss of 71 yards and 4 1/2 sacks for a loss of 35 yards. Behind him, Kenny Demens had 82 tackles and linebacker Desmond Morgan and safety Thomas Gordon each had 81 tackles.
Now, Morgan will be among Michigan's defensive de facto leaders. Not because he wants to, but likely because he has to. ACL tears, repairs and recoveries are hardly an overnight process. Whitmer graduate Chris Wormley, a defensive end, tore an ACL over the summer and is just now getting back into practice, while defensive back Blake Countess tore an ACL in Michigan's season opener and right now is not participating in spring contact drills.
Funny that the news was announced Wednesday and the injury happened Tuesday - per a school release, posted on Twitter - a day when the biggest news of the week was some old lady calling left tackle Taylor Lewan an idiot for returning to Michigan and not declaring for the NFL draft.
(Yes, I'm filing this from Auburn Hills as opposed to putting an Ann Arbor dateline on it - I'm covering the NCAA tournament, so follow along on Twitter: twitter.com/RLenziBlade.)