With the recent announcements regarding injured players Fitz Toussaint, Troy Woolfolk, and Cam Gordon, I got to thinking about injuries in relation to game time played. All three of these players have encountered at least one injury (Troy Woolfolk has suffered 3 just this season, following his season ending injury from last year), but were recently reported to be fit to play this Saturday during Brady Hoke's press conference.
So the question becomes, if these players are "fit to play," should they still receive decent playing time in this weeks match-up with Eastern Michigan? Michigan was picked by Vegas as more than a 30 point favorite when it takes to the field on Saturday, but there seems to still be an incentive to place these recently injured players back into the line-up immediately.
Some point to momentum and consistently as the reason to throw these players straight back into the lineup. This is certainly a major issue for most teams. Does the coaching staff want to risk re-injuring, or injuring, a starter in a game against a mind-boggling underdog?
To me, I think Michigan needs to find a nice balance. Because of the team's schedule in the upcoming weeks (Eastern Michigan, San Diego State, Minnesota, and Northwestern), I think there is much less risk for trouble than typical of most teams. For instance, Michigan is a heavy favorite against Eastern Michigan, but the ratio is sure to decrease in the following weeks (although Michigan should still be a decent favorite over at least San Diego State and Minnesota).
With this in mind, Eastern Michigan is probably the only game where Michigan could probably sit a good portion of its starters for an extended period and still win by a decent margin. However, if any particular starter did happen to get injured against Eastern Michigan this Saturday, the loss would not be devestating because they would very likely return by the end of this four game stretch, or before the Michigan State match-up on October 15th.
So when the starters stay in for perhaps a big too long on Saturday, or Hoke rushes some of these recently injured players back into the lineup, don't stress out too much, the potential loss to the team is relatively low considering the schedule, since starters will probably have to play for extended periods during the following weeks, but the team still maintaining a great chance at victory.
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