ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) - Michigan sophomore Mitch McGary may be on every All-American team known to man.
But he's not on the court - and there's no sign of when he will be.
McGary's lower back condition remains the dark cloud hanging over U-M's basketball season, which begins with an exhibition game against Concordia next Tuesday.
"I can't answer when Mitch (returns) with the date or the days," U-M coach John Beilein said at Thursday's Michigan basketball media day. "All I know is that his improvements are really good right now."
What's "really good" for the player expected to carry Michigan to another NCAA Tournament championship game? Beilein repeated assistant Jeff Meyer's message from earlier in the week, that McGary is doing impressive work on the underwater treadmill.
"He's making great progress, but we're super cautious," Beilein said. "If he keeps making this progress, day after day, it's still day to day, one of these days he's going to have to get out there and see what he can do."
Out there is the basketball court, where he's only doing stationary shooting drills.
McGary, who became a national sensation during his freshman year, turning a lackluster season into an explosive NCAA Tournament is not saying much, repeating Beilein's mantra that he's "day to day."
"Right now is not really important, important is when it starts getting around Big Ten season," McGary said. "Every game is really important but right now I'm being cautious. I don't really have anything (predicted) in the future."
Asked the last time he felt 100%, he said "I feel pretty good right now."
The last time he played basketball: "I don't even know," before he hesitated to answer.
"There's no target date or anything right now," I'm day to day right now, feeling really good about my body. I'm just trying to get better each and every day doing what I can do."
When he does come back, that'll be its own issue.
He'll need to get into basketball shape, which was an issue last season until March, when McGary turned it on.
"I'm limited to what I can do what they're allowing me to do, trying to make the team better by being more vocal as a leader," he said.
But to return and achieve his goal of playing as a power forward, his likely NBA spot, he's missing critical time.
"The biggest thing that he's missed -- the skill development over the summer, he had a great summer -- is the defensive principles if you are playing on the perimeter," Beilein said. "Can he go in there and give us minutes (at power forward)? He's got to be able to go in there and guard a guy on the other team who's very much like Glenn Robinson. ...We've got to get him those reps so he can do either one. When does those things, he can play both positions."