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Jaelin Llewellyn speaks for first time since tearing ACL

Michigan’s starting point guard is out for the season and spoke for the first time today since his injury.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Michigan Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022-23 college basketball season is already over for Jaelin Llewellyn, as the Michigan Wolverines announced last week he will be out the rest of the year after tearing the ACL in his left knee against Kentucky in London.

Llewellyn started all eight games he appeared in this season, averaging just over 26 minutes per game along with 7.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.75 assists.

Llewellyn took some time Tuesday afternoon to speak about the injury and his recovery process, as he didn’t give a clear answer as to whether or not he’s going to seek some sort of medical redshirt and try to suit up for the Wolverines next season.

“I’m taking things day-by-day,” Llewellyn said. “I got a long road ahead of me and I don’t want to get too far ahead.”

One thing Llewellyn did talk about was how thankful he is to be getting support from his team, and that he is taking the rehab process one day at a time.

“I’m doing well, just taking every day as it is,” Llewellyn said. “Just trying to get some strength going in my quads before surgery and I’m going to practices and being as supportive as I can.

“My teammates have been great supporters for me, and a lot of people have reached out and wished me well. It’s just the beginning of it, but I’m hopeful to keep working throughout this process.”

Llewellyn had to leave in the second half of the game in London, due to the injury. He went to take a jump-shot and knew something was wrong when his feet hit the floor.

“It was late in the shot clock, and I went to take a pull-up and it felt like something popped right when I planted,” Llewellyn said. “I kind of knew right then what had happened, there was definitely a shock factor and it was painful as well.”

Llewellyn has been through the rehab process before after tearing his Achilles during the 2020-21 season. Princeton and the rest of the Ivy League didn’t play any games that year, but he said he tore it in his first practice back indoors for that season.

To now have to miss another year is devastating. Llewellyn is clearly trying to stay optimistic, saying his previous rehab stint has prepared him for this.

“When I tore my Achilles, it was in the middle of a pandemic and it was challenging,” Llewellyn said. “I was working full-time and doing school online. I got through that and I think this is another opportunity to go through something similar with less going on. It’s an opportunity for me to learn from that experience, take the good and try to improve on the bad days as well.”

No official date has been set for his surgery, but Llewellyn said it will likely happen the first week in January.

In terms of his new role, Llewellyn said he’s going to be the team’s biggest supporter and he’ll try to provide insight, hoping to be as involved as he can be from the sideline. He did watch Thursday’s win over Minnesota, and was pleased with what he saw what he saw, especially from Michigan’s new starting point guard.

“Watching the game was great,” Llewellyn said. “They came out with great energy, and Dug (McDaniel) had a great game. I think it was what this team really needed, was to come out, throw the first punch and put them away early. I think that’s setting us up great for our next game at Lipscomb, and we’ve got a big one coming up as well. We have to continue to get out to those great starts, it’s what we need. It’s going to be exciting to watch.”

The Michigan Wolverines’ next game against Lipscomb is at Crisler and will tip-off Saturday at 4 p.m. They’ll also play North Carolina on the road on Dec. 21 before facing Central Michigan at home on Dec. 29 to close out the calendar year.