ANN ARBOR—Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner is crutching around Ann Arbor as the Wolverines prep for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Kansas State.
Coach Brady Hoke insists Michigan is being over protective of the injury if anything and fully expects a healthy Gardner on Dec. 28.
“He’s got some turf toe,” Hoke said. “We’re just trying to be precautionary and get him healthy.”
Hoke adding, “He’s a tough guy, you know, and he demonstrated that through the year. The best medicine for it is rest and we want to rest him as well as we can.”
Gardner didn’t participate in practice Tuesday as the Wolverines got back to work prior to the bowl game and didn’t practice Thursday either.
“He’s played a number of snaps so he knows the offense,” Hoke said. “Obviously we’re getting ready for a game but he’s into the game plan.”
Gardner’s beating has been well documented throughout the 2013 season, none worse than sustaining seven sacks two games in a row in losses at Michigan State and at home against Nebraska.
In spite of it all, Gardner did his best to not let the added hits effect him or his mindset as a quarterback.
“I always knew Devin was tough,” teammate Taylor Lewan said. “When it comes to football he’s a football player.
“He played his heart out and he’ll continue to play his heart out.”
Hoping for a much better year in 2014, despite his gaudy passing numbers, Lewan believes Gardner will improve immensely through the adversity, potentially with added time to throw behind a young offensive line.
“I think he’s going to be a more complete player,” Lewan said. “The offensive line is going to have more experience next year, all those guys getting starts is going to start paying off, he’s going to have more time in the pocket.
“If you give him time in the pocket he’s going to pick apart defenses, that’s what he does, he’s good at that.”
Gardner has completed 60-percent of his passes with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 12 games as a junior.