Tentative diagnosis on UM’s Wagner: slight ankle sprain

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Austin, Texas — Michigan has been hit with devastating injuries to its top players in recent seasons.

The Wolverines are hoping junior center and leading scorer Moritz Wagner isn't the next in line.

Wagner left Tuesday’s 59-52 win over Texas with 7:36 remaining in the second half when he suffered a right ankle injury after stepping on center Mohamed Bamba’s foot during a drive to the basket.

“It looks like a slight ankle sprain,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “They gave me the old day-to-day, so we’ll wait and see. We’ve been here before. We don’t think it’s serious at this point, but we’ll know more tomorrow.”

Beilein said no X-ray was taken after the game before adding, “It hasn’t been recommended yet.”

After Wagner's right foot landed on Bamba's right foot and turned awkwardly, he fell to the court and clutched his ankle writhing in pain. Michigan players circled around Wagner for several moments before he was helped off the floor and walked with a noticeable limp.

Wagner, who finished with 10 points and two crucial second-half 3-pointers, was looked at by the training staff on the bench before he hobbled to the locker room for further evaluation. He would later return to the bench but not the game.

Texas went on a 7-0 run after Wagner exited to cut Michigan’s lead to 50-43 with 6:09 remaining, but senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman banked in a 3-pointer for one of his several momentum-killing shots down the stretch to hold off the Longhorns.

Depending on the severity of Wagner’s injury, he should have plenty of time to heal before Big Ten play resumes on Jan. 2 at Iowa.

Michigan wraps up its nonconference play with a soft schedule and has just three games over the next 17 days with Detroit Mercy on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena, Alabama A&M at home on Dec. 21 and Jacksonville at home on Dec. 30 in the nonconference finale.

Wagner, who is averaging a team-high 15.6 points through 12 games, was seen without a walking boot or crutches following the game. He also appeared to be in high spirits and was smiling on the plane prior to the flight back from Texas in a photo tweeted out by the team's Twitter account late Tuesday night.

Wagner had a similar injury scare during Michigan’s second game of the season against Central Michigan on Nov. 13. In that game, Wagner fell awkwardly near the 3-point line, twisted his right ankle and limped back down the floor. He was immediately taken out and tended to by the training staff on the sideline, but checked back into the contest two minutes later.

Since becoming a full-time starter last season, Wagner has yet to miss a single game.

The Wolverines were hit hard by the injury bug in three of the past four seasons, with Mitch McGary, Caris LeVert, Spike Albrecht and Derrick Walton Jr. all missing significant time. Last season, no Wolverine missed any time due to injury.