Initially experiencing pain in his toe in a non-conference loss to Villanova, the issue for Walton Jr. has spread to his entire foot, keeping him out of the lineup since Jan. 24.
“Every day we make steps in the right direction with it so at any moment I’m trying to give it a shot,” Walton Jr. said. “The main thing is playing pain free so whenever that day is I’ll be out there.”
Right now, that day remains unclear for several reasons.
Wrapping up the season at 16-16 following Friday’s 71-60 defeat at the hands of top seeded Wisconsin, Michigan remains in the running for a bid to the National Invitation Tournament.
If the Wolverines do make it to postseason play, Walton Jr. intends to give it a try assuming he feels better.
“I don’t think surgery is possible, this is all just a result of trying to play through pain and eventually it just got worse,” Walton Jr. said. “I don’t think it needs surgery it’s all about being rested and let it heal.
“Me being a guy it’s tough to do that cause you want to play so bad but every day I’m trying to make strides in the right direction. It’s all about resting right now.”
In 19 games this season, Walton Jr. averaged 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Without detailing what exactly the injuries were throughout the season, Walton Jr. ran through his situation.
“First it was a traumatic turf toe, like what happened against Villanova,” Walton Jr. said. “But gradually it became a stress reaction in my foot. So it was kind of swelling around the bone.
“I’ve done a lot of things over the last four or five weeks to get the swelling and I’m walking easier. Now I’m just trying to transition back into playing and getting back in shape.”
Watching from the bench down the stretch, Walton Jr. remains excited about the future of Michigan basketball and the young nucleus continuing to develop every game.
“Me and Caris (LeVert) talk about all the time, if one of us didn’t get hurt it would kind of hinder their development,” he said. “But just to see them out there making plays is exciting so going forward it’s just exciting to see guys like Aubrey (Dawkins) who shoots the blood out of the ball, and Muhammad (Ali Abdur-Rahkman), Ricky (Doyle) and all those guys.
“Me and Caris just sit over there and laugh about all the strides we’ve seen and doing it in the game.”