Break could buy time for Michigan's Derrick Walton

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Five days after falling to Michigan State and losing its fifth straight, Michigan had time to rest before its matchup against Ohio State.

The extra time paid off for the Wolverines, who got their biggest win of the season, topping the No. 24 Buckeyes, 64-57 on Sunday.

UM (14-13, 7-8 Big Ten) gets another break, not playing its next game until Saturday at Maryland. That could provide enough time for the return of sophomore guard Derrick Walton Jr., who has missed the last seven games because of a foot injury.

Walton, who had been in a walking boot, crutches or a knee scooter since the injury, was walking without any aids before the game against Ohio State but didn't play.

Coach John Beilein has insisted that Walton would return this season but with only three games remaining in the regular season, time is dwindling.

"We'll find out more. The first thing is can you walk without pain? We're hopeful that he's having no pain as he gets used to it," Beilein said Monday on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. "There is a difficulty in walking when you haven't walked normally in four weeks now. He's trying to get used to that and next he'll be running and then basketball action.

"We're bringing him along slowly, very hopeful that he can join us on the court again before too long."

Walton had suffered from turf toe earlier in the season but was overcompensating and likely caused the foot issue.

UM could benefit from a couple days of rest, with the rotation playing extended minutes due to injuries to Walton and Caris LeVert, who is out for the season because of a foot fracture. This week will have a lighter practice and an extra day to recuperate.

"We want to go as hard as we can as long as we can (Tuesday) and then Wednesday would be a rehab/rest then go into a normal two-day prep," Beilein said. "Spike (Albrecht) needs some rest and some of the freshmen need some rest but there are some other guys that need a lot of work," Beilein said. "We'll grind like this all the way through the end of the year."