Hart's mom uncertain of RB's status for Saturday's game

Updated: October 17, 2007, 6:23 PM ET
Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Mike Hart's mother is as in the loop as anybody can be when it comes to the status of Michigan's star running back.

Like coach Lloyd Carr, though, she isn't sure if Hart will be healthy enough to play for the 24th-ranked Wolverines against Illinois.

"No one will know until Saturday," Rory Rushlow said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "I just left Ann Arbor yesterday, and he says he's fine and if he's even 80 percent healthy he'll play.

"Hopefully, he'll play. But he if doesn't, I'm sure he'll play the next game against Minnesota."

Hart hurt his right ankle Saturday against Purdue, and did not play in the second half.

His teammates said they expect him to play.

"There's no doubt in my mind he'll play," offensive tackle Jake Long said earlier this week.

Carr has been noncommittal.

"The injury that he has, it's always a lot to do with how a player feels," Carr said Tuesday. "Ultimately, you have to watch him as a coach and as a trainer and make determinations from there."

Hart seemed to be relatively healthy in the second half against Purdue as he smiled and laughed with teammates while watching the game, walking on the sidelines without an obvious limp.

He is listed as the No. 1 tailback on Michigan's depth chart, heading into Saturday night's game at Illinois.

Brandon Minor, Hart's backup, limped off the field against Purdue after he appeared to hurt his left ankle. Minor was later carted off the field and left the stadium with a protective boot covering his left foot.

Third-string running back Carlos Brown scored twice in the fourth quarter of the 48-21 win over the Boilermakers.

In only a half, Hart scored twice and had 21 carries for 102 yards -- setting a school record with his seventh straight 100-yard game.

The senior also moved past Wisconsin's Anthony Davis for fifth among the Big Ten's career rushing leaders with 4,757.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press