Mitch McGary is a key fixture in a Michigan team that will have to replace consensus player of the year Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, another first round pick from this summer’s draft. However, the sophomore forward has been sidelined day-to-day with a lower back issue since late September.
The 6-foot-10 McGary told ESPN College Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman that he isn’t concerned about his lower back condition.
“We’re just being cautious,” he told Goodman. “I’m hoping to get back on the court in the next couple of weeks, but we’re not rushing anything.”
McGary averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his first season in Ann Arbor, but those numbers jumped during the NCAA tournament, where he was a breakout star, averaging a double-double of 14.3 points and 10.8 rebounds a contest in the Wolverines’ march to the national championship game.
The Michigan big man is being projected as a preseason All-American, so an early-season injury isn’t a great start to his sophomore campaign, especially with NBA front offices keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old forward. McGary is listed as the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com. A source informed Goodman that McGary is dealing with an injury that could cause problems at some point during the season. McGary also told ESPN that he wants to be playing, “in Big Ten play, when it matters.” And for head coach John Beilein he won’t rush back his starter forward until he’s “pain free.”
Michigan opens the season on Friday, Nov. 8 against UMass Lowell.