ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jim Harbaugh says he’s expecting the worst but hoping for the best with receiver Ronnie Bell.
But admittedly, the Michigan coach is worried.
“As we come out of this game, that’s the biggest concern,” Harbaugh told reporters after Michigan’s 47-14 win over Western Michigan. “He’ll get an MRI tonight and we’ll find out the severity of the injury.”
Harbaugh declined to reveal specifics, but Bell — a co-captain and Michigan’s leading receiver in 2020 — exited Saturday’s game in the second quarter clutching his right knee after fielding a punt and taking a hit.
Bell was unable to get up on his own, and needed help from Michigan’s medical staff getting off the field. He was later carted off the field at Michigan Stadium and was later spotted in a wheelchair in the tunnel.
“That’s a big deal,” Harbaugh later said. “He’s loved by everybody and captain of the football team. What can you say other than you hope for the best and expect the worst — and wait until you get the MRI results.
“No matter what, he’ll be back. He’s got too much drive not to be.”
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Before the injury, Bell had cracked the highlight reel with a 76-yard touchdown catch that put Michigan ahead 17-7. One drive earlier, he made a one-handed catch down the sideline that was called back after a pass-interference penalty. Bell also added a 31-yard punt return, totaling 107 all-purpose yards until the injury hit.
“I didn’t think there was any way he was still in bounds,” Harbaugh said of the circus-like catch. “And the big play that he made on the adjustment — the post (route) — really cracked the game open. Got the big play when we needed it.”
“Fabulous,” Harbaugh later added. “Phenomenal. All prayers are with Ronnie right now.”
Players said after the game they weren’t aware of Bell’s status, nor had any one of the four available to the media spoken to him. Instead, they all offered their prayers to the Kansas City, Mo., native who had blossomed into Michigan’s most reliable receiver.
“It’s very difficult seeing a brother, a teammate, hurt,” quarterback Cade McNamara said. “Ronnie’s a big part of this team — and I’m praying for whatever it is, for him to be able to be OK in any sort of fashion. Obviously, it’s super difficult and you hate to see it.”
“It sucks,” added senior defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson. “He was really stepping up in that game. Really, a leader. It’s a tough blow for us, whatever his injury may be.
“I’m praying it’s not anything bad, but …”
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