I posted the Holy Cross preview a little while ago, noting that it was extremely unlikely McGary would play tomorrow evening. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, McGary will be out for a lot longer than that. According to a press release from the University, McGary will undergo back surgery and is out indefinitely:
University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Friday, Dec. 27) that sophomore forward Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy [N.H.]) will be out indefinitely after electing to have a surgery performed on his lower back. There is no timetable for McGary's return; however, the medical staff expects him to make a full recovery.
"My back problems have been a daily challenge ever since late August," said McGary. "We have worked hard rehabbing the injury and I thought that everything was proceeding in the right direction until the last two weeks. I have consulted with my family, my coaches and our doctors and decided the best option now is to have surgery. This was a difficult decision to make because I want to be out there with my teammates. At the same time, I need to be healthy to give everything I can on the court and help my team."
"We want Mitch to be 100 percent healthy again," said Beilein. "He has worked very hard over the last few months and during his earlier rehab. He was making progress in practice and games; however, lately he began to experience the same pain he had when we held him out of preseason practice this fall. Our first priority is Mitch's overall health even though I am certain he would rather be back on the court right now."
McGary has appeared in eight games this season, averaging 9.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
The lingering offseason chatter about McGary's ailing back has gone from mere chatter to a cold, hard reality, an end of the line instead of a temporary road block.
Back injuries are always worrisome, for the simple fact that they can flare up and cause problems. I'm not a doctor, but it seems like Michigan will have to make do without McGary the rest of the way. The Wolverines have more than enough talent to make it into the Big Dance, but navigating another brutal Big Ten slate will be even more difficult without one of Michigan's most dynamic playmakers.
On the bright side, Michigan did get the win against a big Stanford squad last Saturday without McGary's services, speaking to the Wolverines' ability get by without him. With that said, Michigan will have to do that many more times, against teams better than Stanford, throughout the Big Ten schedule if they plan on going dancing.
Most important, of course, is McGary's health. We all wish him a speedy recovery and a swift return to the hardwood and his mind-boggling point-forward exploits.
If we've seen the last of McGary in a Michigan uniform (if he enters the draft after this season, which becomes a murky situation with this injury), all you can say is it's been a lot of fun.