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December 27, 2013

McGary opens up about injury

Sophomore forward Mitch McGary discussed his decision to elect for back surgery that will keep him out of the Michigan lineup indefinitely at a press conference Friday evening.

McGary said he injured himself this summer and has been rehabbing for about six months. He has been playing since the Iowa State game, but the last few weeks have taken a toll on his body.

"I was trying to rehab these last six months, and it was kind of painful to play through," McGary said. "It was the last few strikes that were wear and tear on my body that led me to this decision.

"It all added up. It was a little overwhelming, because I wasn't back in the shape that I wanted to be in, and it added up over time.

"It was difficult for me, because I really want to go out there. I love these guys. They're my brothers, and I want to go out there and play with them. But I'm going to get back out there and hopefully cheer my team on."

McGary declined to talk specifically about the injury, settling to call it a "lower-back condition." He has done research on the type of surgery he will have next week, but he doesn't have a timetable for when he can get back on the court.

"I definitely don't want to injure my body more than it needs to be," McGary said. "That was something I considered, because I rehabbed for such a long time and tried to play through it. Overall, I wanted to get it over with, put it in the past and work on getting 100 percent again.

"I'd like to take it easy and try to get back in shape. But I don't want to risk reinjuring it, so I think I will be cautious on certain things until I get 100 percent again."

Michigan coach John Beilein was on hand to answer a few questions about the injury, too.

"This is a thing that took a long time to make this decision, because of the fact that he has worked and rehabbed and done so much all the way back to August," Beilein said. "When the issue came up again, with the condition in the last couple weeks, we met with a lot of people, and Mitch decided that it was in his best interest for his long-term health to go ahead and have surgery.

"I am not a doctor. I don't know how long it takes, but right now he is out indefinitely. That may mean the end of the season. Right now, we do not know. It depends on the surgery and the rehab.

"I think anyone who has ever had a bad back, you can be picking up a dish of macaroni salad, and it can hurt. He really ran into the basket one time really hard and got back up and played. We're not sure if that jiggled it, but that could have been a factor."

Through his talks with the doctors and trainers, McGary weighed the option of either playing through the pain and getting surgery after the season or pull the trigger on the surgery now.

He said he "could have" played - but it would have been severely difficult.

"But I would be in a lot of pain, and I felt like it would be too much stress on my body and I might harm it even more," he said. "Some of the movements, I couldn't get out on the floor and run like I wanted to. I wasn't in great shape. To help my team, I feel like I need to be in tremendous shape, and it was limiting me."


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