Last season was a tough one for the Michigan Wolverines, as injuries had a major impact on a team that was expected to at the very least be in the mix of teams behind preseason favorite Wisconsin. Two of the players impacted by health issues were guards Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr., with LeVert missing the final 14 games of the season with a fracture in his left foot and Walton Jr. missing 13 games due to issues with his right foot including a badly sprained toe.
Their health is key for a team that returns every key piece from last season’s rotation and has hopes of making a run at early Big Ten favorite Maryland in 2015-16. And in a radio interview Thursday, Michigan head coach John Beilein provided an update on the status of both LeVert and Walton Jr. and stated that he expects both will be a “full go” by July 1.
“Walton is all but back, he practiced without any restrictions today and really did a good job,” Beilein said. “LeVert, when people see him, they’re really going to be surprised the strength in his upper body. When you have a foot injury, there’s not much you can do in the weight room except work on your upper body and he is so much stronger. When he pulls himself on his jump shot, he’s got even more lift on his jump shot.
“When those guys get shut down, I think they get really hungry for the game and really miss it. I expect them, both will be full go by July 1. Those two months of July and August will be so important for them. Because they really have had sufficient rest where they shouldn’t have to hold back at all in the summertime.”
Obviously the summer is an important time, as players use those months to improve their individual skill sets. Having to worry about rehabbing an injury takes away from the time that can be use to do so. Given how deep the Big Ten sets up to be in 2015-16, having LeVert and Walton healthy is of great importance to the Wolverines as they look to rebound from a disappointing 2014-15 campaign.