The Michigan Wolverines basketball team is anxiously awaiting the return of freshman wing Franz Wagner from a wrist fracture with the timeframe opening up for his projected return to the floor. Head coach Juwan Howard offered up an explanation on Thursday afternoon, but did not have the update people may be looking for.
“(Athletic trainer Alex Wong) and our medical staff are doing a great job helping Franz get through the process,” Howard told the media on Thursday. “But we don’t have a (updated) timeline at this moment.”
The Wolverines have started the season 3-0 and have hit a decent little groove through the first trio of games this season, which Howard also mentioned was frustrating for a guy like Wagner who was planning on being a part of that.
“Any player would be frustrated, upset to see his teammates out there competing in practice and in games and unfortunately you cannot join them,” Howard said. “But throughout the process he’s been working extremely hard at his conditioning, doing as much as he can do, what he’s allowed to do. But overall we’re just waiting patiently to see how he heals because his body and his health is the most important thing.”
As far as his status moving forward, Howard said that Wagner will travel to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis next week. Whether he suits up or not remains to be seen, but he will be making the trip.
“We’re bringing our entire family,” Howard said. “Franz is one of our family members, so he will join us.”
Associate head coach Phil Martelli joined The Michigan Insider on WTKA on Thursday and had a ton to say about Wagner so far, as well:
“He really is a basketball savant. He sees things that you can’t see at that age. His experiences and the coaching that he got at home must have been just extraordinary. He is a very, very, very bright defensive player. Where the ‘X’ would be if you draw it on a board, he appears in those spots. He understands stunting, he understands hands in passing lanes. It’s extraordinary. His passing ability will be a delight for people to watch who appreciate the game. It’s not just a game where here’s a trick I can do with the ball or here’s how high I can jump and here’s my range. He puts the ball where his teammates can really be successful...“His shooting stroke will develop. Obviously the setback with the break being on his right hand, his shooting stroke is starting to come back. That’s what they’re really working on and I think that’ll be one of the evaluations he will get in terms of when he can get a full-go and when he will be able to get full rotation on his shot. The beauty about him, and I would ask people to watch this, he plays with a smile. He enjoys basketball. We’re in a state now in our game where there’s always a scowl, there’s always stuff going on with players. When Franz walked on the floor at 4:17, he did a defensive drill the other day where his wrist, obviously, couldn’t be impacted, and being able to go into that rotation and see him with a smile, I can’t wait to see him every day. Not just because of the basketball player that he is but the human being that he is. Really, really extraordinary.”
Michigan plays Houston Baptist on Friday evening at Crisler Center in a game set for a 7 p.m. ET tipoff.
- Four-star 2020 guard Adam Miller committed to Illinois on Thursday night. Howard had offered him after missing out on Nimari Burnett, but were too late to get into the process and never seemed like much of a factor.
- Steve Lorenz of 247Sports is reporting that a pair of St. Frances Academy commits for Michigan will be enrolling early.
- An early line is out for the Michigan-Ohio State game and the Wolverines are still set as multiple-score underdogs.