UM’s LeVert out for remainder of season

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Caris LeVert

It's been a rough two years for Caris LeVert.

And it just got even rougher, as Michigan announced there would no comeback for the senior guard.

Out all but one game since suffering a lower-left leg injury in the Big Ten opener Dec. 30, LeVert and Michigan announced Tuesday he would miss the rest of the season, which includes the regular-season finale against Iowa on Saturday, the Big Ten tournament and, if the Wolverines even get in, the NCAA Tournament.

Levert missed much of last season, too.

"After some prayer and talking it over with my family, Coach Beilein and the medical staff, we all feel it is best for me to concentrate on getting fully healthy," LeVert said. "There is still some discomfort that does not allow me to help this team the way I want.

"I am so thankful for what Coach Beilein, the assistants and the medical staff have done for me during my collegiate career and, in particular, while I have dealt with these injuries.

"UM has provided me the chance to live my dream of playing college basketball and to earn a Michigan degree. There are really no words to express my gratitude for that, as well as my love for my teammates.

"I am so blessed to be part of this wonderful university and will forever represent the Maize and Blue."

LeVert, 21, a native of Columbus, Ohio, averaged 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 15 games this season -- all but two were non-conference games -- as he made a strong early case for Wooden Award consideration. Early in the season, he has his first triple-double. LeVert played in the Big Ten opener at Illinois, and was hurt late in the game. It was considered a somewhat minor injury at the time, but when he missed the next 11 games, it wasn't minor anymore.

LeVert returned for the Purdue game at home Feb. 13 and played 11 first-half minutes, grabbing five rebounds but not scoring on his two shots -- one free throw, one field goal.

He didn't return in the second half, when Beilein said he thought LeVert was "wobbly" at the break.

Two days later, LeVert gave a press conference, his first public comments since the injury, and talked about how he was on the right road to recovery, and how much he looked forward to playing the next game, at Ohio State.

But LeVert didn't practice that day, after the press conference, and didn't play at Ohio State.

He had suffered a setback that would cost him the season.

"This has been a tough two months for Caris," John Beilein said. "He has worked so hard to get back to this point, and Caris' long-term health is what is most important.

"Caris has been a pleasure to coach; he is a wonderful young man with a brilliant future. I am confident he will have a very successful professional career because his talent, attitude, quickness and versatility make every team better.

"He has always carried himself and handled these situations with such class and a level of maturity that is unmatched. This is not how he wanted to finish his career here; however, we know he can hold his head high for how he has represented this great university and our basketball program."

LeVert could've gone pro after last season, but decided to return, at least in part because last season's injury might've hurt his stock.

There's no telling what his NBA stock is right now, though some pundits still consider him first-round material.

LeVert played 103 games at Michigan, scoring 1,070 points. He was a two-time captain, an All-Big Ten selection in 2014 and was the last remaining player from Michigan's run to the national championship game in 2013, as Spike Albrecht was lost for the season early on.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984