Chicago — What is a promising week for many prospects at the NBA Combine is another exercise in futility for Michigan standout Caris LeVert.
After another foot injury derailed his senior season, LeVert is getting around the Combine on crutches, recovering from a Jones fracture in his foot. He had an additional surgery after the season, but hasn’t been able to resume full basketball activities.
“Everything’s healing up on time, but we just have to stay with the process,” LeVert said Friday. “It was (in the) fifth metatarsal.”
The specific nature of the injury had been shrouded in mystery, as LeVert and Michigan coach John Beilein didn’t go into detail about what it was or how serious it might be. But when LeVert’s senior season ended early, he hoped to be ready to work out for teams ahead of the June 23 draft.
But he hasn’t, and that’s left LeVert’s draft status uncertain given his last two seasons ended with injuries. Still, he’s optimistic about what his professional career can hold.
“I was in college for four years, so I think my game speaks for itself,” said LeVert, who participated in individual interviews and tried to answer questions about his injuries. “I’ve done about 15 interviews with teams, so sounding polished in the interviews and them looking over my film.”
He said he wouldn’t get the walking boot off until mid-June and might not be cleared for basketball activities until mid-July.
While he recovers, LeVert got a boost of confidence to keep his spirits up during the process. Kevin Durant gave him a call to let him know everything would be fine if he just stayed true to the rehab process.
“We’re with the same agency ... we went to the same doctor, Dr. (Martin) O’Malley with the Nets,” LeVert said. “He said once Dr. O’Malley finishes with you, you’ll be like brand new. He said stay with the course and it’s a long process, but just stay with it; don’t get anxious.”
LeVert said he’s been told he could be selected anywhere from the middle of the first round to the middle of the second, but he’s not worried about any of that.
“That’s probably the widest range ever, but that’s what it is right now,” he said. “I’ve met with 15 teams — I can’t name them all right now off the top of my head.”
He did say he met with the Pistons, who wanted to get to know him.
“I can’t really reassure them on the court,” LeVert said. “I’m doing interviews and medical, X-rays, CT-scans and MRIs. That’s all I can do this week.”
Pistons seek help
The Pistons have met with most of the top point guards — Tyler Ulis, Demetrius Jackson and Malik Beasley — who could be available at No. 18, along with LeVert and Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine.
General manager Jeff Bower said they don’t have specific targets.
“We’re just looking for the best way to try to help our team,” Bower said. “We could use any position. There are some good point guards that you would think are in that range, that would be available around that pick. There really isn’t too much to read into it beyond that.”
Those targets look to be point guard or power forward, but with their starting lineup likely returning intact from last season, it’s just a case of finding a diamond in the rough who could help.