Michigan coach Brady Hoke isn’t ready to put a definitive timeline on the potential return of tight end Jake Butt, who tore an anterior cruciate knee ligament in mid-February, but the sophomore-to-be could be back early this season.

Butt, who tore the ACL during winter conditioning, has undergone surgery and begun rehabilitation.

Hoke on Thursday, before the Wolverines’ fourth practice of the spring, said the timeline for Butt should be similar to that of linebacker Jake Ryan, who tore his ACL a year ago and returned to practice after a six-month recovery and played at Penn State seven months after the injury.

“I haven’t really sat down and talked with the doctors, because (Butt) just had (the surgery), but he’ll work hard just like Jake did,” Hoke said. “I would think, though, to really have him back where you’d want him, it probably would be game three or four. So it is similar in some ways to (Ryan), but we’ll just have to see. Everybody heals differently.”

Michigan’s first four games are Appalachian State (Aug. 30), at Notre Dame (Sept. 6), Miami of Ohio (Sept. 13) and Utah (Sept. 20).