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Franz Wagner to miss 4-6 weeks: How it affects Michigan’s lineup and what’s next

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The Wolverines’ freshman sensation could miss at least a month with a wrist fracture.

Berliner Morgenpost

Michigan true freshman Franz Wagner will miss the next four to six weeks after suffering a non-surgical fracture in his wrist, according to release from Michigan Athletics on Monday afternoon.

He is expected to make a full recovery, but this is a major blow to the Wolverines to start the year, as he was expected to have a major role early on in his Michigan career and potentially grab one of the five starting lineup spots.

Here is the release from the Wolverines:

The University of Michigan David and Meredith Kaplan Head Men’s Basketball Coach Juwan Howard announced today (Monday, Oct. 21) freshman guard Franz Wagner will miss four to six weeks after he was diagnosed with a non-surgical fracture to his right wrist. Wagner is expected to make a full recovery.

”While this is an unfortunate situation for Franz, we know he will make his return as soon as he is able,” said Howard. “We have the finest medical staff and trainers at Michigan so we know he is in good hands.”

Wagner, the younger brother of former All-Big Ten forward and current Washington Wizard Moritz Wagner, is one of two incoming freshman (Cole Bajema) this season.

Four weeks from today would have him miss the first three games of the year against Appalachian State, Creighton and Elon, while the six-week timeframe would have those three games plus Houston Baptist, Iowa State, the trip to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis and potentially the Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against Louisville on Dec. 2.

Wagner was expected to complete for time at forward and potentially at the starting two-guard spot, but now the Wolverines’ depth will be tested in a year where they are already thin on wing scoring.

One would imagine that the starting lineup could look like this with Wagner sidelined:

PG: Zavier Simpson

SG: Eli Brooks

SF: Isaiah Livers

PF: Brandon Johns

C: Jon Teske

Johns is currently dealing with an ankle sprain of his own, but it is not expected to be serious. Should he be unable to go at any point early on, Colin Castleton could potentially slide in at the four and in certain lineup combinations, they might throw Livers back down there, as well. David DeJulius and Brooks splitting time at the two might be a way they can Frankenstein-monster this into holding them over for the time being.

No matter which way you slice it, this hurts the development of the team early on, as Wagner was arguably already the most versatile player in a program that will start leaning more on modern positionless basketball aspects of how they approach the game. All is not lost and Wagner might be back sooner than the six week timeframe, but the Wolverines will move forward without a major piece to the puzzle for at least the next four weeks.