Michigan junior defenseman Jon Merrill left last night's exhibition game against Windsor with an apparent upper body injury after being checked from behind into the boards. Today, Michigan head coach Red Berenson confirmed that Merrill suffered a cracked seventh vertebrae--located near the bottom of the neck/top of the spine. Merrill is expected to be out a few weeks, but it is not a season-ending injury.
Merrill, a second round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2010, was expected to be one of the top defensemen in college hockey this season, after turning down an offer from the Devils late this summer to return to Michigan for his junior season. His injury likely pushes sophomore defenseman Mike Chiasson back into the lineup on a regular basis