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Michigan Hockey: Jon Merrill cleared to play tonight for Wolverines

The 6'4" junior defenseman has been out the entire season with a cracked vertebrae.

Gregory Shamus
The Michigan Wolverines have not had the best of luck to end 2012 but they will start the second half of the season with Jon Merrill.

Merrill, a 2010 second round pick by the New Jersey Devils, met with a doctor Friday to get an update on the cracked vertebrae that has kept him out for the entire season and see if he was ready to return for the Wolverines. It went well enough to have Jon, who had been practicing with the team, dress for Friday's exhibition game against the US Under-18 team.
The junior defenseman was injured October 9th during an exhibition game against Windsor when he went head first into the boards. Since then the Wolverines have gone 7-10-2 to begin the season and are in danger of missing their first NCAA Tournament in 23 years.

Although Merrill's role for tonight is undetermined, Michigan is shorthanded on the blue line. Freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg Jets) is currently in Ufa, Russia playing for Team USA in the World Junior Championships. Junior Kevin Clare is also injured and indefinitely out with nerve damage to his shoulder.

Following tonight's game Michigan next plays Tuesday January 8th against Bowling Green and January 11-12 versus Alaska.

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