Spike Albrecht

Spike Albrecht
Associated Press

Hip issues to sideline Michigan’s Albrecht for remainder of season

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Michigan guard Spike Albrecht was one of the Wolverines impacted by health issues last season, playing though hip injuries that would require bilateral hip surgery during the offseason. Unfortunately for Albrecht and the Michigan program the recovery process has been a slow one, with the senior using practice time for recovery and rehabilitation and attempting to tough it out in games.

Friday morning the program announced that Albrecht will miss the remainder of the season, focusing on getting back to full strength. As a result, Albrecht has played his final game as a Wolverine.

“This has been the toughest decision I have ever had to make,” Albrecht said in the release. “After taking a hard look at what is best for me, and this team, I will be stepping away from the game that has meant so much to me.

“I am so thankful for what Coach Beilein, the assistants and the medical staff have done for me during my career and in particular over the last year while I was dealing with this injury. I just have a little more to go and I really need to take the proper time to finish my rehab.”

After playing 32 minutes per game as a junior with Michigan being without both Derrick Walton Jr. and Caris LeVert, Albrecht was down to just 8.6 minutes per contest in eight games as a senior.

Without Albrecht the Wolverines’ point guard depth takes a hit, with Walton Jr. now without a true backup. Walton’s had his own health issues this season, as he’s missed Michigan’s last two games due to a sprained left ankle. With Albrecht no longer in the rotation, LeVert is another candidate to see time on the ball moving forward.

Michigan’s core getting closer to full strength

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Zak Irvin is ready for Michigan to play at full strength again at long last.

“I just can’t wait for everyone to get healthy,” Irvin said. “We’ve at least had an injury I think all throughout last year.”

Irvin’s back problem is the last major issue the Wolverines are waiting on after an offseason in which several key players needed to work their way back from injuries. Michigan held its media day Thursday and allowed reporters to watch an hour of practice. Irvin was able to do some light shooting and participated in other drills as well.

The school announced in early September that Irvin was having back surgery and would miss 6-8 weeks. The Wolverines open the season Nov. 13 against Northern Michigan.

“I’m definitely not going to go out there if I’m not 100 percent – with my back 100 percent, also being in shape,” the 6-foot-6 Irvin said. “I can’t just get back on the court and not be in shape.”

Irvin is showing patience with his recovery, and guard Spike Albrecht continues to make progress with his. Albrecht had hip surgery in the offseason and is almost back to full strength.

“Obviously I’m not where I want to be,” Albrecht said. “I think it’s been a little bit tougher than I expected, just because I kind of jumped back in and just kind of expected myself to be right where I was, skill-wise and shooting the basketball and things like that. I’m not there yet.”

Caris LeVert (foot injury) and Derrick Walton (toe problem) both missed significant time last season, but they’re back now.

Those four players – LeVert, Irvin, Walton and Albrecht – give Michigan a talented, experienced core that should help the Wolverines recover nicely from missing the postseason last season. And the injuries that made 2014-15 so difficult allowed some of Michigan’s younger players more minutes. Aubrey Dawkins and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman started 13 games apiece.

“I think that our skill level, as far as seeing the floor, understanding offense and defense, is at a different level than it was last year,” coach John Beilein said. “We’ve worked a lot on it, all last year, but the Aubreys and Muhammads and guys like that, the game was moving so fast. The game has slowed down for them.”

Beilein said Abdur-Rahkman has “his work cut out for him” if he wants to play as much as he did last season. For once, the Wolverines aren’t dealing with a major exodus to the NBA – and that depth could certainly be an asset.

“Our best teams had two or three guys that we could go to late,” Beilein said. “Caris is certainly going to be one of those, but I don’t think he’s like the only option late in a game.”

Zak Irvin expected to return for start of season

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Michigan was plagued by injuries last year. But when the Wolverines take the floor to open the 2015-16 season, John Beilein expects to have a healthy lineup, which includes Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr.

He also expects Zak Irvin to be ready to play when Michigan opens the season against Northern Michigan on Nov. 13 in Ann Arbor. The junior wing underwent back surgery on Sept. 9. The procedure put him on the sidelines for 6-8 weeks.

“He is getting better every day,” Beilein said Friday morning in a radio interview with WTKA 1050 AM, transcribed by Brendan F. Quinn of MLive.com.

“He can’t do anything yet, but he’s very vocal and leading,” Beilein said Friday morning. “We feel really good about what we said, (that he’ll return) somewhere here in the start of the season and we expect him to be back out on the court for us.”

Irvin was the most recent Wolverine to be bit by the injury bug. LeVert missed 14 games with a left foot injury Derrick Walton missed all of 13 games his own foot injury. Spike Albrecht managed to play through pain before undergoing offseason surgery on both hips. Beilein said LeVert and Walton have are playing with “no restriction” on Friday afternoon, according to Quinn. Albrecht says he’s hoping to get to 100 percent within the next month.

The 6-foot-6 Irvin averaged 14.3 points and 4.8 rebounds last year.

Michigan’s Spike Albrecht begins shooting jumpers after offseason hip surgery (VIDEO)

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Some positive news for Michigan fans late this week as senior leader and guard Spike Albrecht took the floor and shot some jumpers for the first time in nearly five months after offseason hip surgery. The 5-foot-11 Albrecht played through pain during his junior season and later had the offseason hip surgery on both hips, but only one operation could be done at a time.

That meant an April surgery on one hip and a May surgery on the other, but Albrecht is already back and shooting jumpers as practice doesn’t start for another six weeks or so.

As a junior, Albrecht put up 7.5 points and 3.9 assists per game for the Wolverines, who should hopefully be far healthier for the 2015-16 campaign. Albrecht, along with senior guard Caris LeVert and junior guard Derrick Walton, are all expected to return to the lineup in full health after the trio all dealt with injury issues last season for Michigan.

(H/T: Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press)

Michigan backcourt is recovering from injury

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Michigan was badly hit with injuries to its backcourt last season as starting point guard Derrick Walton (toe) and starting shooting guard Caris LeVert (foot) both missed significant time. Both Walton and LeVert are recovering this offseason and they’re joined in the recovery process by rising senior guard Spike Albrecht (hip surgery).

According to Wolverines head coach John Beilein, Walton and LeVert will both participate in team workouts the next two weeks. Beilein spoke to reporters, including Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press, at Oakland head coach Greg Kampe’s charity golf outing.

“Derrick will be full-go,” Beilein said of his starting point guard. “And Caris is actually gonna do some drills with us. He’s not gonna go full yet, won’t go full court.”

Albrecht, meanwhile, will be walking on his own soon after surgery on both hips this offseason that should alleviate some discomfort that he was playing through last season. It appears all three veteran guards should be healthy by the time the 2015-16 season begins and the trio is a big reason why Michigan sits at No. 17 in our way-too-early Top 25.

Michigan’s Spike Albrecht undergoes second offseason hip surgery

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Michigan point guard Spike Albrecht underwent his second hip surgery on Wednesday, according to MLive.com.

Neither procedure was a surprise, as Albrecht battles a degenerative hip condition that he was forced to play through during the 2014-15 season.

“This is something I knew I would have to do and now is the right time,” Albrecht said in a released statement after his first surgery. “I am so appreciative of all the support I have received from the U-M medical doctors and staff, the U-M coaching staff, my teammates and especially all the Wolverine fans. I cannot wait to get back to the floor playing pain free.”

Albrecht, who averaged 34.7 minutes in Big Ten play after Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton got injured, is expected to be out for 4-to-5 months.