Wolverines head coach John Beilein said the sophomore point guard will not play in Michigan’s final regular season match-up Saturday against Rutgers, also leaving little hope Walton Jr. could return to help the team make a run in next week’s Big Ten conference tournament in Chicago.
“It would be doubtful,” Beilein said Friday. “I hate to rule (it out) and say never and never but we’re trying everything we can but he tried to practice, he had pain even warming up before the Northwestern game.
“It just doesn’t make sense to me to put him out there in pain. I don’t think any coaches would do that and we just have to get through it.”
Getting through this stretch of nine games without Walton Jr., sidelined with a lingering toe and foot issue, has been anything but positive for Michigan, already without leading scorer Caris LeVert.
The Wolverines are now 7-10 in conference play and just 2-7 since Walton Jr. was taken out of the lineup. Originally hoping to get Walton Jr. back at some point, Beilein says his recovery plan hasn’t changed moving forward.
“I don’t think surgery is an option,” Beilein said. “I think rest and rehab is an option but I’m not a doctor. I just wish that, when you don’t know how long it it’s going to be, it could be two weeks, three weeks, six weeks; we would put probably a different plan in.
“But we thought maybe three or four weeks he’d be back for maybe Michigan State or Ohio State, but it wasn’t happening. Right now, in hindsight we’d like to do a lot of things. Right now, it is what it is and that’s all we can, we’ve got to deal with it.”
Doyle fighting illness
Michigan is again dealing with another issue healthwise as freshman center Ricky Doyle could miss Saturday’s game as well, the Wolverines planning to insert Max Bielfeldt into the starting lineup on senior day.
“We’ve never done that before, I just felt each game is more important than that,” Beilein said. “However, Ricky Doyle couldn’t practice yesterday, he’s not practicing today; he’s got an intestinal virus so we’ll see.
“He’s not going to be able to practice so it makes it a much easier choice. But I was going to do it anyhow because there’s not this huge disparity between Max and Ricky.”
Following news of the NCAA’s decision to penalize Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse basketball program for multiple violations over the last decade, Michigan coach John Beilein didn’t have much to say on the subject but did offer a brief comment on the matter Friday.
“I do not know the details of that investigation,” Beilein said. “That’s a tough one for me to answer. I do know that over time, we’ve improved so much in that area in communication areas of what the NCAA expects and certain things.
“It’s unique what head coaches are responsible for, responsible not just for themselves but everybody and it’s very difficult. At the same time, the NCAA has a very difficult job to do.”