Noticeably hobbling toward the end of his most recent action, a win at Rutgers in which Walton Jr. knocked down two monster three-pointers down the stretch to secure a win, as well as a clutch three to force overtime with No. 6 Wisconsin, the sophomore continues to deal with an injured toe.
“Obviously, as you noticed that Derrick wasn’t able to go,” Michigan coach John Beilein said afterward. “He wasn’t able to practice the last two days at all or even really do anything on it. And we felt it’s not going to change if we don’t give him some extended time off.”
Now, after missing Tuesday’s 58-44 win over Nebraska, the problem could be even worse.
“What’s happening with his toe is he’s over compensating now,” Beilein said. “Because how he lands. We worry about that. Spike (Albrecht) was doing it with his shot. It was hurting him when he landed sometimes so he started shooting differently.
“He started running differently and those 40 minutes the other day just made it too painful the next couple days. It was an easy decision.”
But Michigan won’t be certain whether or not four days will be enough to get Walton Jr. ready enough to play in East Lansing.
“I do not know,” Beilein said. “We are actually going to go and do some examinations on him tomorrow. Right now we’re just hoping he’ll be able to play, do some ice and rehab but it appears to be more than that at this point so we’ll find out. We’ll certainly know more two or three days from now.”
In an 80-75 win at Michigan State last year, Walton Jr. tied Nik Stauskas with a team leading 19-points including 9-of-10 makes at the free throw line, also collecting six rebounds and four assists.