Michigan coach talks about his team bouncing back in Thursday's win over Nebraska and looking ahead to Sunday's game at Maryland. James Hawkins, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan coach John Beilein is hopeful Charles Matthews won’t be sidelined for an extended period of time.
Matthews, a redshirt junior wing, missed his first game in two seasons at Michigan when he sat out Thursday’s home finale win over Nebraska in a walking boot with a right ankle injury.
According to Beilein, Matthews remains day-to-day with a sprain and will be a game-time decision for Sunday’s game at Maryland.
“It's very slight, so we're hoping to have him back,” Beilein said Friday. “But as you know, we've had times where we thought Caris LeVert was going to play the next day and he didn't play the rest of the year.
“There's a lot of things that go on to any type of ankle sprain. We've done all the tests and we're hoping he's going to come back real soon. But it's going to be up to him and it's going to be when he's pain-free.”
The injury occurred early in the first half in Sunday’s loss to Michigan State when Matthews stepped on another player’s foot and tweaked his ankle. Matthews exited the game and was examined on the bench by the training staff before going back to the locker room to get his ankle re-taped.
After missing roughly six minutes of game action, Matthews checked back in. But then in the second half, Matthews said he “crashed” his ankle again and had to play through pain during his 28 minutes of playing time.
While ankle injuries are fickle and vary from person to person, it has been a common injury to hit Michigan. Redshirt sophomore center Austin Davis sprained his ankle earlier this season during the non-conference slate and missed two games over a nine-day span. Former big man Moritz Wagner suffered a similar injury last season and sat out two games during an 18-day stretch.
With only two conference games left and Michigan still in the hunt for a piece of the Big Ten regular-season title, there could be a natural urge for Matthews to try and rush back.
But according to Beilein, it’s paramount that Matthews, the team's top wing defender and third-leading scorer (12.8 points), returns when he’s fully healthy.
“That's going to be up to him,” Beilein said. “What we have to do is make sure that he feels really good about it and guys have played when they're not completely pain-free. So, we got to make sure that he's doing everything for the right reason because if he's playing on one leg and just trying to be brave, that's one thing. The other thing I think is we got to be very careful and you don't set your date when you're coming back. Let your body tell you when you're coming back.
“That's what he's going to have decide and I think anybody that has an injury is sort of afraid to try it. Everybody would be and then all of a sudden it doesn't hurt anymore, and you can go. In that scenario we completely trust our trainers and Charles to make a decision on that.”
If Matthews is unable to go at Maryland, sophomore forward Isaiah Livers will likely move into his spot in the starting lineup again.
Michigan at Maryland
Tip-off: 3:45 p.m. Sunday, Xfinity Center, College Park, Md.
Records: No. 9 Michigan 25-4, 14-4 Big Ten; No. 17 Maryland 21-8, 12-6
Outlook: Maryland is the only team in the Big Ten that ranks in the top five in both scoring offense (72.1 points; fifth) and scoring defense (65 points; fifth). The Terrapins have won three straight at Xfinity Center but have played just two home games since Feb. 1. ... Michigan won the first meeting, 65-52, on Feb. 16 and will look to sweep the season series for the second straight season.