ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Michigan basketball program has seen some significant injuries to key players on its team as of late.
With Caris LeVert returning from surgery due to a foot injury midseason, Derrick Walton returning from a lingering toe issue that didn’t require surgery, Spike Albrecht recovering from offseason hip surgery to the news announced Wednesday that Zak Irvin will miss 6-to-8 weeks after a back procedure.
Needless to say, things could’ve gone more smoothly for the Wolverines.
For head coach John Beilein, the show must go one. The good news is, however, they’re expecting some crucial pieces back in time for the season to start.
According to Beilein, the recovery process for Albrecht is going as planned.
“I think (his recovery process is going) really good,” Beilein said on WTKA’s The Michigan Insider on Friday. “He’s still probably got another good month and that’s perfect timing because we don’t start until October second or third. Where we actually go 20 hours a week, right now we’re only two hours a week.
“I forget the number but he came out and made like 60 out of 85 threes with his practice where he was logged. So he’s been shooting on his own… He’s very anxious and we have to hold him back but I expect him to be back by the first game.”
Albrecht’s bad hips plagued him throughout the season, though it didn’t necessarily show it during the season. When Beilein was asked how much it bothered Albrecht, he couldn’t answer because Albrecht wouldn’t discuss it.
Like Albrecht, Beilein will be relying on his other point guard Walton a lot this season. Both with returning with a ton of playing experience, health will be the key moving forward.
In fact, Beilein lumped both Walton and LeVert together with heavy praise.
“Let’s group him and Caris together,” Beilein said. “Both of them have been really good in their recovery. When you are dormant like that for three months, because we are very cautious with both of them, before we brought them back, you’ve got to go through some things. Little by little, but his workout the other day was exceptional, both of them, were exceptional. I thought they were right back where they were last year.”
The Irvin announcement on Wednesday came as a bit of a surprise to some. To Beilein, the injury and surgery on his back is just another roadblock his team will have to get through.
“I believe that the check-up this morning that all initial signs was very successful,” Beilein said. “Performed it yesterday and it was very successful. Now that’s the initial signs.”
Beilein noted that his team had a stretch of luck where injuries were kept to a minimum. These days his luck has changed a bit. The goal now, he says, is to get everyone back healthy again.
“Going into last year after we had the graduation, two years ago, we had three guys go into the NBA, we had our core four,” Beilein said. “That was Spike, Caris, Derrick and Zak. Two of those core four have been injured since December 1 last year all the way to this point. We have an open gym where we just start to play. We look good but something is missing. I look over and there’s Spike and Zak sitting over there, or there’s Derrick and Caris, something is missing. That’s what we’re missing. We just have to get everybody healthy.”