ANN ARBOR—Competing for the starting spot alongside fellow senior Thomas Gordon at the free safety spot, senior captain Courtney Avery will be sidelined for Michigan’s season opener Saturday against Central Michigan, and possibly for Notre Dame Sept. 7, after undergoing a minor procedure on his right knee to repair cartilage over the weekend.
“Should be a two week (recovery), a little bit of a setback,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke confirmed Monday. “But everything went well. He’s in great spirits and he’ll be back on the field soon.”
Avery, who was voted one of four captains along with seniors Taylor Lewan and Cam Gordon, as well as junior Jake Ryan, isn’t exactly taking too kindly to his new crutches.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Avery said. “Especially my senior year and I wanted to spend every second I could out there on the field with my teammates but that’s just not how it worked out so, you got to just sort of roll with the punches.”
Asked whether or not he expects to be back for week two against the Fighting Irish, Avery left the door open despite admitting he has not fully discussed his timetable with doctors just yet.
“Just taking it week by week,” he said. “And hopefully just get back as soon as possible.”
Avery, an All-Big Ten academic performer in 2012, appearing in all 13 games including five starts at cornerback, believes he was making progress, getting up to speed quickly at free safety before the injury popped up.
“I was getting more comfortable,” Avery said. “I feel like I was adjusting pretty well.
“The biggest adjustment was really going from, at corner, being keyed into mostly being keyed into guarding one specific person,” Avery said. “Now, being at safety, you have to see the whole range of the field and make a lot of the adjustments. Sort of like being the quarterback back there.”
Leading vocally and by example before the injury, Avery says his role will be a little different in the secondary these next few weeks, looking to lead sophomore Jarrod Wilson, redshirt freshman Jeremy Clark, and even true freshman Dymonte Thomas, who was mentioned by Brady Hoke during his Monday press conference, as all three vie for the starting job.
“Now I’m more coaching on the sideline and just pulling them aside if Coach Mallory is busy or something on the field, I can pull them aside and talk to them.”
To watch video of Avery discussing his injury, and a detailed reaction about being selected captain, press play below.