Michigan Wolverines head men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard confirmed on Friday that Austin Davis will be out indefinitely due to a foot injury suffered in Wednesday’s 91-71 win over Toledo. The news was made official via a release from the school in conjunction with Howard’s pre-Penn State media availability.
“While we are sad to have Austin suffer an injury right now, we were glad to hear that there is a possibility of his return at the appropriate time,” Howard said in the statement. “We know Alex (Wong) and all the members of the U-M medical staff will take good care of ‘Big Country.’”
As the statement was released, Howard was assembled with the local media to discuss Davis, who was spotted in a walking boot after Wednesday’s game, and his team. He revealed that it is not an Achilles injury, but rather plantar fasciitis and that he will be out likely for weeks, not days.
“They don’t have leadership in a box score,” Howard said. “That’s first. Secondly, they don’t have ‘all in’ in the box score. Austin is a coach on the floor. Such a smart player, a giver. He’s not about the cameras. He feeds positive energy to the team. Now that we don’t have him on the floor, we’ll miss him a lot.”
True freshman center Hunter Dickinson, who has been the breakout star of the early going of the season, will make the leap to the starting lineup and play a much bigger role moving forward while Davis is out.
“Hunter can handle anything that’s thrown at him. He’s proven that,” Howard said. “He welcomes any challenge because he’s a very competitive guy. He prepared all summer like all his teammates have when it comes to conditioning. He understands he’ll be playing more minutes, and I’m sure he’s excited about it, as well. He’s also very down that Austin is not going to be out there and is injured. None of the players on this team want to see their brothers go down with an injury.”
Howard said he will use an “all hands on deck” approach to replacing his fifth-year senior and captain and did not disclose what he plans to do to adjust the lineup. One would imagine it comes in the form of more minutes for Brandon Johns Jr. and Terrance Williams at the five, as well as potentially shifting someone else there depending on the look.
Michigan’s next game is Sunday afternoon in the Big Ten opener against Penn State at Crisler Center.