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Michigan coach expects QB Denard Robinson to play against Indiana despite bruised knee

Denard Robinson's injury was more scare than serious.

Robinson hurt his left knee in the first quarter against Bowling Green and didn't return, but said after Saturday's game he was OK and two days later he coach concurred.

"Denard should be fine," Rodriguez said Monday. "He's got a bruise."

Rodriguez planned to limit Robinson's activity Monday before letting him practice Tuesday to prepare to start for the 19th-ranked Wolverines (4-0) in the Big Ten opener Saturday at Indiana (3-0).

Clearly, Robinson improves Michigan's chances of staying undefeated.

He's averaging a nation-high 172 yards rushing and is second with nearly 355 yards of offense, with six rushing touchdowns and four TD passes.

Michigan's backups, Devin Gardner and Tate Forcier, moved the ball well enough to help Michigan beat Bowling Green 65-21.

"Other guys can run the offense — Denard is special," Rodriguez said. "He's got the ability to break every play himself, he's so explosive as a runner."

Rodriguez, though, has no plans to alter his offense that calls for Robinson to often carry the ball himself.

"This is a physical game, quarterbacks get hit," he said. "Sometimes they get hit when they're running. A lot of times they get hit when they're drop-back passers. You see that every day in the college and the NFL."

Rodriguez does plan to lessen the load on Robinson during practice by having him hand off and pass more than usual, but Robinson isn't going to just hang out and watch all week before to stay fresh for the Hoosiers.

"The quarterback especially has to stay in there to stay sharp," Rodriguez said. "You don't have to run him as much. You blow the whistle after he gets 5 yards downfield instead of running 40. Denard is pretty fast. He gets down there 40 yards pretty quick. You just have to blow a quick whistle."

Robinson isn't the only hobbled Wolverine.

Running backs Michael Shaw (knee) and running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (shoulder), safety Carvin Johnson (knee), linebacker Brandon Herron (ankle) and safety Michael Williams (concussion) are also banged up players, testing an inexperienced team.

"I wish we were healthier now," Rodriguez said.

The Wolverines do seem to be in better shape to avoid a collapse like the one they had last year after winning their first four games.

But no one wearing maize and blue is about to get cocky, coming off seven- and nine-loss seasons the past two years.

"It is a little motivation for us to keep working," receiver Darryl Stonum said. "Last year we were 4-0. This year we're 4-0. We can't get big heads."