ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint said he is "85 to 90 percent" recovered from a broken left tibia and a fractured left fibula suffered in the first quarter against Iowa on Nov. 17.
The recovery for the redshirt senior, who had surgery to repair the broken bones that day, is ahead of schedule.
"I thought it was a cramp," Toussaint said. "I didn't know it was that serious of an injury. I wanted to get back up but I remember somebody telling me sit down, stay down. It may have been a referee.
"I kind of looked down and went into shock. I looked at it, and it was an ugly look. All out of whack."
Toussaint, who rushed for 514 yards and five touchdowns last season after a 1,000-yard sophomore year, said he immediately knew he was done for the season but never questioned whether the injury was career-threatening.
His confidence grew more when he removed the boot from his left leg soon after Michigan's season concluded in the Outback Bowl. While he has been held out of contact drills this spring, both he and Michigan coach Brady Hoke said they are optimistic he will return in time for the Wolverines' season opener against Central Michigan on Aug. 31.
Hoke also said linebacker Jake Ryan, who tore an ACL on March 19, had surgery to repair the ligament Thursday. Hoke said he would not rule out Ryan returning at some point next season.
Meanwhile, Toussaint has been improving at a better rate than what his doctors initially indicated.
"Didn't know how fast I'd be doing stuff in spring ball," Toussaint said. "Either way you look at it, I'm still ahead of schedule."
To test the leg, Toussaint has done non-contact lateral drills in practice. When he is home, he said, he will sometimes "run into something, my bed or something like that on this leg, purposely, to see how things feel." The one thing he is not aware of is what football contact will feel like.
That, he said, is keeping him from deeming himself even healthier than he is.
When Toussaint returns, he will enter a wide-open running back competition for Michigan that will include freshman running back Derrick Green, the No. 38 prospect and No. 5 running back in the 2013 class.