Michigan's Mitch McGary goes up for a shot in the game against Houston Baptist at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor in December. (John T. Greilick / Detroit News)
Since Mitch McGary’s back surgery last week, Michigan has been rolling. In fact, the Wolverines have won all six games since McGary last played in the home loss to No. 1 Arizona on Dec. 14.
McGary, a 6-foot-10 forward, is out indefinitely because of the surgery and wasn’t on the bench for U-M’s win at Nebraska last Thursday or the home win over Penn State on Tuesday.
Coach John Beilein explained Thursday morning on “The Michigan Insider” radio show on WTKA that McGary’s absence is by design, in an effort to help him heal quicker.
“Mitch is not in a bed-rest type of deal, but you won’t see him at a game for a little bit or he won’t travel with us,” Beilein said. “He doesn’t need to be sitting in a plane to go to Wisconsin. He doesn’t need to be sitting on the bench and jumping up and down — which I know he would do.”
McGary played in eight of Michigan’s 16 games this season, averaging 9.5 points and 8.3 rebounds. Michigan has won all eight games that he missed but faces a rough upcoming stretch, with games at No. 3 Wisconsin, home against No. 14 Iowa and at No. 4 Michigan State in the next nine days.
Michigan (12-4, 4-0 Big Ten) will move forward without McGary, who will begin back rehabilitation soon, according to Beilein. In the meantime, McGary can focus on school and watch the team from afar while he heals.
“He needs to just go to class, go back and rest, study and let the initial parts of his procedure repair itself before he gets into rehab,” Beilein said. “His attitude is good and he can concentrate on his academics right now.”
In McGary’s absence in the last six games, Jordan Morgan is averaging 8.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in a starting role and Jon Horford is chipping in 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds.