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Beilein ‘not optimistic’ LeVert will play vs. Maryland

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Michigan can’t seem to catch a break with injuries these days. All of them seem to linger longer than expected.

The same seems true with senior guard Caris LeVert, who has missed the last two games with a lower left-leg injury and doesn’t seem likely to play against No. 3 Maryland on Tuesday night at Crisler Center.

“I’m not optimistic about tomorrow,” coach John Beilein said Monday. “The longer it goes, the more he’s gonna need two or three days of practice or he won’t be ready, or we could risky further injury.”

Beilein didn’t expand much on what he called “Your Caris Report,” other than saying LeVert didn’t practice Sunday.

LeVert went through a shootaround before Thursday’s game at Purdue, but he felt pain, and Beilein has said time and again he won’t be playing in pain.

“Less pain every day, less yesterday,” Beilein said. “We elected not to have him still practice yesterday (Sunday), let the healing try to complete itself.”

There is no definitive word what part of the leg is injured, nor any timetable on a possible return.

That has to be frustrating for LeVert, who missed much of last season with a foot injury on the same left leg. If the absence is extended much more, he’d figure to start worrying about his NBA draft stock. Beilein said they haven’t discussed that, but might soon if this lingers some more.

“We were hoping this would be over,” Beilein said.

More from Walton

In LeVert’s absence, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman has been starting, and against Purdue, he scored a career-high 25 — scoring from outside and even inside, unafraid to drive to the basket against the Boilermakers’ 7-footers.

Beilein loved every second of that performance, but with LeVert out, he still would like to see more assists out of Abdur-Rahkman, and more scoring out of Derrick Walton Jr.

“He’s always been a pass-first point guard. That’s not a bad thing,” Beilein said of Walton. “He makes shots and we want him to take shots.

“We’ve gotta encourage him to shoot it when he’s open and pass it when he’s not.”

Walton was 3-for-9 shooting against Purdue.

Wilson ‘scrappy’

If D.J. Wilson wants to get regular minutes in Michigan’s frontcourt rotation, he has to play defense. And while it might not have looked like he played great defense against Purdue, Beilein wasn’t totally dissatisfied.

“He was scrappy,” Beilein said. “Here’s a young man playing in the post against two huge post players.”

A.J. Hammons had a big game in the paint for Purdue, among others.

That wasn’t all on Wilson, of course.

On many plays, Beilein said, “a double team was supposed to come from the other side,” but never came. Beilein said he takes the blame for that.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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