LeVert Fully Healthy, Talks Leadership Role

Junior shooting guard Caris LeVert is healthy, and discusses his new role as team leader. W/Video

ANN ARBOR -- Caris LeVert is finally healthy again.

LeVert, who suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his foot during NCAA tournament play last season, says he is 100 percent healthy and fully participated in Michigan’s open practice to the media on Wednesday.

“ It was kind of a wear and tear injury,” LeVert recalled on the injury. “We think it probably happened somewhere in the NCAA tournament. Like I said, I got X-ray after the season. I’ve been out a 11 weeks now, and I just got back last week.”

In his sophomore season, LeVert was a breakout player for the Wolverines, finishing third on the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game. During U-M’s regional final run, LeVert said he knew something was wrong with his foot, however, it wasn’t painful enough where he needed to come out of the game.

“It wasn’t really nagging me like that,” LeVert said, when asked to describe the pain. “It just bothered [me] a little bit. A lot of the times after the games I would feel it hurting a little bit. But it wasn’t hurting to the point where I couldn’t play or anything.”

After the season, LeVert said he met with the Michigan medical staff and decided to have surgery.P> “… I talked to the doctors and they said it’s a really a common injury for guys who are playing basketball a lot,” LeVert said. “They decided it was the right choice, we decided as well to get the surgery.”

The injury cost LeVert prime practice time and conditioning this off-season.

"He just needs repetition right now,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “He was not able to do a lot of work during that time, so he needs to just get his legs back to an endurance area where he can go longer. We're going to need a lot of minutes from him. Right now he needs to rep out shooting, shooting, scoring, shooting, defending, etc.

“All he needs is time right now, but this certainly helps. As you watch him out there right now, he's trying to find his spots and he's done very well in some practices, while at other times you can see the layoff."

Team Leader

With the departure of Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Jordan Morgan to the professional ranks of basketball, LeVert is now expected to be the face and leader of the Michigan basketball team.

A role he willingly accepts.

“It’s just been fun for me,” LeVert said on his role as a team leader. “I’m kind of just teaching the young guys how we play. The offense and defense and things like that.”

Sophomore point guard Derrick Walton, who started in the backcourt with LeVert season, says LeVert has always been a leader on the team, he just taking it up a notch this season.

“He did that last year as a sophomore,” Walton said of LeVert. “He just upped the ante this year as a junior. He’s done a great job with the younger guys, even me. He helped me see some things I didn’t see out there. He’s embraced the younger guys. He took them under [his] wing, and showed them how we do things around here.”

As far as what LeVert’s expectations are as heads into his junior season, he says he’s not focused on individual accolades, but more focused on helping out his teammates.

“Not really any expectations individually,” LeVert said. “Right now we are just trying to grow everyday as a team. We’re a growing team, with six young guys. We’re just trying to get better each and every day.”

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