Mitch McGary slowed by ‘lower back condition’
by Mark Snyder, USA TODAY Sports
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Before Michigan opened its first full basketball practice of the season Friday, the defending national runner-up announced its highest-profile player, sophomore Mitch McGary, will be limited.
The announced reason is “a lower back condition,” which leaves practice participation for the preseason All-America forward as a day-to-day proposition.
U-M coach John Beilein hesitated to give more details about McGary’s condition, citing federal privacy laws, but admitted that it’s not a new problem.
“Day-to-day pretty much all fall,” Beilein said at Crisler Center, where McGary was not expected to practice. “Now we just move forward from there and are pretty hopeful it’s gone before too long.”
McGary and his teammates have been on campus since the semester began just after Labor Day, so he’s been dealing with this issue for nearly a month on campus. “He’s working like crazy to get back,” Beilein said.
This is the second consecutive preseason during which McGary has dealt with an injury.
Last year, he was restricted by an ankle/foot issue before the season, a problem that faded as he got into better shape. Though he was limited during the season and unable to stay on the court, he improved his conditioning in February, and after Jordan Morgan went down with an injury, McGary was in peak form by the NCAA tournament.
That’s when McGary emerged as one of the tournament’s superstars, averaging 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds during the Wolverines’ six-game run.
Just how the injury will affect the Wolverines’ season is unclear.
McGary was viewed as a borderline lottery pick in the NBA draft last spring but decided to return to school with U-M’s other talented freshman, Glenn Robinson III, hoping to add to his game.
Part of that incentive was Beilein saying McGary could be more versatile, working at the power forward spot and showing his shooting range and ballhandling and passing skills in the open floor.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth this past year in our frontcourt, obviously in Mitch, but Jon (Horford) has grown a lot, I’ve grown a lot, too, and Max (Bielfeldt) has grown a lot, too,” Morgan said today. “We’ll be able to just … [For more on Michigan's Mitch McGary slowed by 'lower back condition', click here.]