Abram to Return for Big Ten Tourney?

In Monday afternoon's basketball presser, Tommy Amaker and Lester Abram discussed Abram's possible return this week. After a month-long absence, the Pontiac native is poised to get back into the lineup.

The wait for Lester Abram's return looks as if it will come to an end this Thursday when Michigan squares off with Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament. Tommy Amaker remained cautious regarding the status of his long absent standout yesterday, but did indicate that Abram's return is a distinct possibility provided he goes through practice this week in an acceptable fashion.

"He has been on a steady increase of his ability to do certain things in practice," Amaker said. "We're hopeful that we can continually see him move toward an area where you kinda see him back in a full workout. He hasn't even participated in a full practice yet. I'm hopeful that we'll get the opportunity to see him in the Big Ten Tournament. I think this week, prior to Thursday…today tomorrow and Wednesday…will hopefully help us make a better determination by game-time on Thursday."

Amaker indicated that he was looking ahead when he made the decision to hold Abram out of Saturday's game versus Indiana. Even though the Pontiac native expressed the desire to play, his coach felt that a little more time off would be benefit his effectiveness the rest of the season.

"I think he was so anxious to try to play in that final game," said Amaker. "I think he was adamant about it with our trainers and our doctors. That's typical of Lester. My thought was a little bit broader and bigger than one game for him. I'm also thinking of potentially consecutive days. If we're going to try to have him back, and then not have time to have him off of it to rehab to get ready for the next one… we'll probably need to have him ready to go for tournaments. We're hopeful that we will have the chance to participate in tournaments. Obviously the first one is the Big Ten Tournament. Maybe I was being cautious with him, but I just felt in all of our best interests, but in particular his best interest, to get him more time to get through the things that I think he needs to get through in terms of practice and going through the rigors of what we need to do to see him perform like he's capable of or he potentially can. I thought it was best to sit him."

For his part, Abram understands why he was held out Saturday, but fully expects to play versus the Gophers. "It was a coach's decision," said Abram regarding why he didn't play versus the Hoosiers. "I was ready, but I wasn't mad that he didn't put me in. If he had called me to put me into to play, I was going to go. (The ankle) is not 100%, but it's good enough to play. I think I've been sitting long enough, so I think if he wants to put me out there for a long period of time, I'm ready for that. If he doesn't…I'll be ready for whatever he decides. I haven't even started thinking about how it's going to affect my game. I'm just going there to play with the reckless abandon that I usually play with and whatever happens, happens.

With the team struggling as of late, Abram sees how his return could be of help. That said, he isn't going to try to come in and be a savior. He doesn't believe the squad needs that. "I just go out there and play basketball," Abram said. "It's something I've been doing all of my life. Obviously my team needs me to be out on the court. It's better for me to be out there playing than sitting on the bench, so I'm just ready to play basketball. I don't see it as pressure. I don't think we need a lift. I just think we need to play better basketball."

The Michigan Insider Top Stories