Michigan coach talks about his team's performance in Tuesday's 59-52 win. James Hawkins, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor – Michigan could be without a key piece of its starting lineup in Saturday’s nonconference showdown against Detroit Mercy.
Junior center and leading scorer Moritz Wagner will be a game-time decision for the noon tip-off at Little Caesars Arena, four days after he exited the second half of Tuesday’s win at Texas with a right ankle injury.
“The veterans got some rest on Thursday,” Michigan coach John Beilein said on Friday. “Today he did a little bit of stuff (at practice). He's not at 100 percent, that's for sure. I'll wait and see how he feels tomorrow.”
Wagner suffered the injury with 7:36 remaining in the game when he inadvertently stepped on the right foot of Texas center Mohamed Bamba and awkwardly rolled his ankle on a drive to the rim.
Wagner went crashing to the floor in pain and was down for several moments before he had to be helped to the bench. He walked with a noticeable limp and was eventually taken to the locker room for further evaluation, but never returned to action.
Following the win, Beilein said the injury was a “slight ankle sprain” and deemed Wagner as day-to-day.
Through 12 games, Wagner leads Michigan (9-3) in scoring (15.6 points) and rebounds (7.6), and is the only Wolverine to score in double figures in every contest.
Sophomore center Jon Teske has served as Wagner’s primary backup and has played well in several stretches this season. Teske is averaging 3.6 points and 3.1 rebounds in 11.2 minutes and leads the team with nine blocks.
Redshirt sophomore center Austin Davis has appeared in five games – mostly in mop-up duty at the end of games – and has recorded seven points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in 19 minutes.
Both Teske and Davis would be pressed into larger roles if Wagner is unable to go, which would also mark the first game he has missed since becoming a full-time starter last season. However, the fact that Wagner hasn’t already been ruled out is an encouraging sign that it isn’t a serious injury.
Beilein noted Wagner went through some of the team’s drills during Friday’s practice, but will hold off on determining his availability until game time.
“I don't anticipate anything right now,” Beilein said. “I anticipate waiting to see what he feels like tomorrow whether he's out in warmups or whether he's not in warmups.”
The Michigan-Detroit Mercy matchup will mark the first college basketball game to be played at Little Caesars Arena and the first of an in-state doubleheader, which will be followed by No. 2 Michigan State and Oakland at 2:30 p.m.
MICHIGAN VS. DETROIT MERCY
Tip-off: Noon Saturday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
Records: Michigan 9-3, Detroit Mercy 4-6
Notable: Michigan holds a 24-4 advantage in the all-time series and has won the past 14 meetings. … Sophomore G Corey Allen (18.7 points) leads five players scoring in double figures for Detroit Mercy, which has lost four straight. … No. 2 Michigan State and Oakland play in the second game of the doubleheader.