Henne Overcomes Injury Adversity

Michigan quarterback Chad Henne has battled injuries throughout his senior year. With two games left on the schedule, Henne met with the media to talk about his injuries, Michigan State, and the Wolverines final stretch run against the Wisconsin Badgers and Ohio State.

ANN ARBOR -- Chad Henne will be the first one to tell you that his senior year hasn't been what he expected. Starting in 37 straight games dating back to the beginning of his freshman season, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound quarterback hadn't yet missed an opening snap since making the trek from Wyomissing, Pa., to Ann Arbor.

In the Wolverines first 10 games of this season, however, Henne has been under center for just over 65% of the Wolverines pass plays. A knee injury in the opening half of the Oregon game sidelined Henne for the Wolverines following two games against Notre Dame and Penn State, and part of their first road contest against the Northwestern Wildcats.

"I would never picture this would ever happen since never having an injury in three years," Henne said on Monday. "Never missing a game (before). It's been a difficult path."

Against Illinois just over two weeks ago, Henne was poised to return to the lineup. Recovering from the knee injury much earlier than originally expected, Michigan's leader in all-time touchdown passes made it just one quarter before a hard sack forced Henne back to the sideline with a painful shoulder injury.

"I knew I felt it crack, I knew as soon as I did it, I felt it dislocate (my shoulder) because it happened once in high school. I thought to myself once it happened ‘this isn't good,' but it didn't completely pop out, it kind went back into location itself. I stood up and it kinda felt alright, and when it tried to pick my arm up, I knew nothing was tremendously wrong, so I put some tape on it and came back out."

Chad would ultimately return the field and lead the Wolverines to victory in an effort that head coach Lloyd Carr thinks will go down as one of the most courageous performances in Michigan's long and rich football history.

"If you were on that sideline, what he endured there, he was resolute about playing. I'm amazed. I'm amazed with that situation, that he could do that. All I can speak to, is knowing him as a coach. But as a teammate, I'm sure it's just something that none of us will ever forget," he said.

Against Minnesota the next week, the Wolverines were able to rest Henne's right shoulder. Despite not practicing for much of the week, Henne, who now just needs nine yards to also hold the Wolverines all-time yardage record, returned to the lineup despite the discomfort involved.

"Toughness is a big key whether it is physically or mentally. As a quarterback you have to have both," he said. "Just fighting through an injury and knowing that you would never expect it to happen, but when it does happen you always can tell a lot about a player when he comes back and how he plays on that injury."

Playing through his injury, Henne tossed four touchdown passes, including two in the final seven minutes, to sink the Spartans in a rivalry that's grown hotter since the teams left the field.

A little over 72 hours later, according to Henne, the shoulder feels much better. With the Wisconsin Badgers, a team that beat the Wolverines in their last trip to Madison, next on the docket, Henne, and the rest of the Wolverines, look forward to avenging that loss in the final tune up before Ohio State.

"The Big Ten Championship. We have to take care of these last two games. Obviously, going to Madison, we lost there two years ago, so it would be a great accomplishment to win there," Henne concluded. "Ohio State, we're 0-3 against them, so we've got to come out these last two games playing our best football."

Michigan and Wisconsin are scheduled for a noon kick-off to be televised by ESPN Television.

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