As Michigan prepares for its first rivalry game of the season at Michigan State, it’s still unclear whether they’ll have one of its best players in the lineup.
Point guard Derrick Walton Jr., who missed UM’s win on Tuesday over Nebraska because of an injured foot, has been hobbled by a sprained toe that has limited his play this season and played 40 minutes Saturday in an overtime loss to Wisconsin.
Following Tuesday’s victory, Beilein said that Walton would undergo further tests to see the extent of the injury, but didn’t provide any updates.
“Right now, I don’t have anything definitive to say,” coach John Beilein said Thursday morning on WTKA-AM’s “Michigan Insider” radio show. “Hopefully, by the Michigan State game, we’ll know more.”
By missing Tuesday’s game, Walton got a few extra days to be off the foot and possibly be ready for Sunday’s showdown at the Breslin Center.
“This is a rest period for him, the one we’ve been waiting for. It’s been four or five days since our Wisconsin game, where he has not done anything,” Beilein said. “We put him on a scooter, and we’re going to wait and see what the next couple of days bring and see whether he can get back into action before too long.”
Walton missed the last two practices before Tuesday’s game and Beilein said it was a mutual decision not to play against Nebraska. Continuing to play through the original sprain in November has been difficult on Walton, who has had battled the pain and continued to put pressure on the foot.
“My uneducated decision is he strained something in his foot by landing over and over the wrong way,” Beilein said Tuesday. “As it’s grown over time, the toe seems to be getting better but now he’s favoring it.”
UM (13-8, 6-3 Big Ten) is in third place in the standings midway through the conference season.