Northwestern getting healthy this week

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Good news for Northwestern's defense as starting cornerback Sherrick McManis and starting middle linebacker Nate Williams both participated fully in Wednesday's practice, according to a team spokesman.

Reserve running back Jeravin Matthews also practiced without any restrictions Wednesday. Both McManis and Matthews have missed the last two games with injuries, while Williams was a late scratch last Saturday against Syracuse.

McManis' return looms large for the Wildcats as they face Minnesota star wide receiver Eric Decker on Saturday. Northwestern had no answer for Syracuse's Mike Williams in a 37-34 loss, and you could make a good case the Wildcats would have won the game had McManis played.

Williams also provides a boost to a defense that hasn't tackled well for much of the season.