ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) - Since August, Michigan sophomore center Mitch McGary has battled through back problems.
"My back problems have been a daily challenge ever since late August," McGary said in a released statement. "We have worked hard rehabbing the injury and I thought that everything was proceeding in the right direction until the last two weeks. I have consulted with my family, my coaches and our doctors and decided the best option now is to have surgery. This was a difficult decision to make because I want to be out there with my teammates. At the same time, I need to be to give everything I can on the court and help my team."
It's stunning how dramatically McGary's basketball life has changed since early March.
At the time, he was a highly-recruited but infrequent contributor to Michigan's talented team.
Then he began starting in the NCAA tournament and his dominance helped carry the Wolverines to the title game.
That led to a spike in attention, his name shooting up the NBA draft boards and a late-April decision with his close friend Glenn Robinson III to return for their sophomore season.
He was lauded in the summer at the Amare Stoudamire Skills Academy in New Jersey, then the LeBron James Academy in Las Vegas earning him preseason All-America honors.
But when practice began in earnest in late September, U-M coach John Beilein said McGary was out with lower back condition.
For more than two months, McGary did very little then two games into the season, was healed enough to play.
Playing in eight games, McGary he showed flashes of that talent from last spring, averaging 9.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
But the other injuries limited him from an ankle to a quad to problems head to toe, Beilein said after McGary sat out last week against Stanford. Beilein said that was a result of crashing into a basket support before the Arizona game, when McGary was clearly limited.
Now, there is no idea when his next game could be.
"We want Mitch to be 100% healthy again," Beilein said in a released statement. "He has worked very hard over the last few months and during his earlier rehab. He was making progress in practice and games; however, lately he began to experience the same pain he had when we held him out of preseason practice this fall. Our first priority is Mitch's overall health even though I am certain he would rather be back on the court right now."