UM’s Wagner likely out vs. Alabama A&M
Michigan likely will be without junior center and leading scorer Moritz Wagner for the second straight game due to injury.
Coach John Beilein said Wagner is dealing with a bone bruise in his right foot and is doubtful to play Thursday night against Alabama A&M.
“He is day-to-day still,” Beilein said Wednesday. “We do not expect him to play (Thursday), but he has been trying some things and we did some things.
“We don’t expect it to be long term at all. This would be not because of the opponent, but because of the Big Ten schedule is so important. We think it’s important if in doubt, he’ll rest.”
Realistically, the Wolverines likely won’t need Wagner’s services as Michigan will host a winless Alabama A&M team that ranks among one of the nation’s worst in RPI and has won just two games since last season.
However, Beilein said if it had been a Big Ten game, they would’ve tried harder and tested Wagner more in practice to see what he could do.
“But if there was a doubt this early in the season, we wouldn’t play him,” Beilein said.
Wagner suffered the injury in last week’s win at Texas during a drive to the rim in the second half. It was originally thought to be an ankle sprain before Beilein provided more clarity on Wednesday.
Wagner sat out Saturday’s 90-58 blowout win over Detroit Mercy and sophomore center Jon Teske filled in admirably, recording 15 points and 10 rebounds in his first career start.
Following the victory over Detroit, Beilein said he wants to get Wagner back to 100 percent and noted they will take their time, a luxury that can be afforded thanks to Teske’s progress and improvement, as well as a soft schedule.
After it hosts Alabama A&M, Michigan will have eight days off for holiday break before it closes its nonconference slate Dec. 30 against Jacksonville and resumes Big Ten play on Jan. 2 at Iowa.
Alabama A&M at Michigan
Tip-off: 9 p.m. Thursday, Crisler Center, Ann Arbor
TV/radio: ESPNU/WWJ 950
Records: Alabama A&M 0-11, Michigan 10-3
Outlook: Michigan is 6-0 at home and will play four of its next five at Crisler Center … Alabama A&M ranks 347th in the nation in RPI and is one of six Division I teams with a winless record. Ten of its 11 losses have been by double digits.