Back issues plaguing, possibly postponing Mitch McGary's return

Mitch McGary is the major man in the middle for Michigan this season. (USATSI)
Mitch McGary is the major man in the middle for Michigan this season. (USATSI)

Michigan is probably going to go as far as Mitch McGary can take it this season. And right now, McGary's not playing. The Second Team All-American is still out and waiting for his lower back to recover. News, via the Detroit Free Press' Mark Snyder, is now at this status: McGary's return is to be determined.

Team doctors have not cleared McGary to play, and at least publicly, the specific timetable for when he'll be good to go remains in limbo. Here's Snyder's report from late Monday night.

“The doctors will have to OK it and once the doctors OK it, then we’ll bring him along slowly in practice,” Beilein said. “We want to make sure everybody in full agreement that it’s time to go because, knowing Mitch, he’s not going to go halfway when he gets to go. He’s going to be diving on the floor the first time. ... Just watching the game, we’re going to do some interesting things with him down the stretch here as he’s watching practice more and hopefully getting closer to being back in there. Have him just chart things in practice and watch how many times a big man really boxed out hard, how many good screens are set in this next 15 minutes. Have him visualize those things as opposed to just aimlessly watching a practice. Anything to have him grow while he’s continues to recuperate I think is positive.”

McGary was uneven at times last year (before coming on huge in March) after fighting through injuries to his foot and calf, but those were manageable injuries. A back problem -- especially for a big man -- can be very troublesome. Often times, back issues can plague players over the course of an entire season. Sometimes that can affect a player's career. We're not yet sure how serious this injury is, so it makes sense for Michigan to wait until McGary's healthy.

Heck, it makes sense for McGary's own future for him to wait until the back is completely good before he steps on the court again. His future could depend on it. Until then, at the very least, at least Nik Stauskas is now ripped and ready for the Wolverines.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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