Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

McGary's surgery creates uncertainty among Michigan's 'Bigs'

With Mitch McGary’s back surgery expected today (Tuesday, Jan. 7), Michigan head coach John Beilein can now concentrate on manning the center position with Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford.

At the moment, Beilein is expected to give 6-7 Max Bielfeldt the remaining minutes.

While it may sound like a plan, it’s doubtful that either the 6-8 Morgan or the 6-10 Horford could replace McGary who was looking to have an All-American season.  If fact, McGary was named to the Sporting News, USA Today and two other All-America teams.

McGary will be missed

No one knows for sure, but McGary might be finished as a Wolverine.  Since he will likely miss the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign, he  could easily enter the NBA draft next spring.

Morgan, who lost his freshman year to a knee injury,  has scored only 6.6 points  and 4.9 rebounds per game since enrolling at U-M. All of his statistics, including minutes played, have dropped during his Michigan career.

On the bright side, Morgan was named last season to the All-Big Ten Coaches Defensive Team,  after Michigan made it’s run in the NCAA tournament, losing out to Louisville in the national championship game.

Just like Dad?

Horford, who definitely has the pedigree, hasn’t shown any consistency throughout his Michigan career. The son of Tito who played three NBA seasons and brother of Al who’s made a pair of NBA All-star teams,  Jon has averaged under three points and three rebounds a game.

There’s no question his stats have been hampered by missing 25 games with a foot injury his sophomore year and five games with a knee injury his junior year.

Should  Morgan or Horford head for the bench, Michigan might be forced to give Bielfeldt, a rarely used redshirt sophomore, extensive playing time. The undersized post player has a career average of 1.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 5.2 minutes per game.

Fortunately, the wildcard in the mix is freshman Mark Donnal, a 6-9, 230-lb. 4-star recruit who’s been toiling on the scout team and expecting to redshirt.

Can Donnal help?

Donnal was rated by as the nation’s 13th best center as a senior at Anthony Wayne HS just outside of Toledo. He played his AAU ball with Michigan teammate Andrew Dakich.

Beilein, who is about to jump into the meat of the Big Ten schedule, doesn’t have to burn Donnal’s  redshirt until necessary, but playing on the scout team is nothing like crashing the boards with the Spartans, Buckeyes or Hoosiers.

Mark Donnal in practice, he continues to (improve),” Beilein told the Tennessean. “If it was any other year, he’d be out there playing. But with having the three guys there right now, it still does not make sense for him to share minutes because he’s such a young 18 years old.”

He might have to grow up real fast.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer

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