Hart, the Big Ten freshman of the year was outstanding for the Wolverines in 2004 (ranked 9th in the nation with 1,455 yards, average 5.2 per carry), leading them to a conference championship and a Rose Bowl appearance against Texas.
The diminutive 5-foot-9, 192-pound back from Syracuse, NY. served as sort of a security blanket for fellow freshman quarterback Chad Henne last season and was a workhorse in the Michigan backfield carrying 282 times.
While Grady was one of the most highly recruited players in the state last season, it hasn't translated into on-the-field success for Michigan so far.
Hart has not played since being injured in the first quarter of Michigan's 17-10 loss to Notre Dame. Hart was hit by Fighting Irish linebacker Corey Mays and suffered a deep thigh bruise and a possible hamstring injury.
Hart's absence from the next two contests led to speculation that Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr might redshirt his star, take his lumps this season and be ready to contend in 2005, but Carr downplayed that kind of talk, joking that he didn't want Hart around in five years.
"I hope – I hope he plays," said Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr. "Mike Hart has done everything. There is nobody that wants to play more than he does. The truth is, we're not going to know until he gets out there. He will practice tomorrow (Tuesday). We'll just have to see where he is."
"If there was a spark, he would be that spark," tight end Tim Massaquoi told the media. "He brings that energy, and it affects us a little bit. But we've got guys stepping in and doing a good job. Max and Kevin and Jerome Jackson did their part. But missing Mike does hurt."
The Spartans, for their part has a super freshman of their own in Javon Ringer. The Ohio standout is currently 18th in the nation in rushing, carrying for 367 yards on just 39 carries and is fourth in the nation in per carry average at 9.4.