After over a month on the sidelines, Caris LeVert is close to a return. He’s still listed as day-to-day, but tested the injury more rigorously in practice than he has in weeks.
“Caris did more yesterday than he’s done at all,” said Michigan coach John Beilein in a Monday press conference. “It was really the first time that he has tested himself more than he had (before). It’s day-to-day, and we’ll wait and see when he’s ready to go.”
LeVert has missed Michigan’s last 8 games with what has been termed a ‘lower left leg injury’ that he suffered late in Michigan’s Big Ten opening win over Illinois. The Wolverines have been 6-2 in conference play without their leader, but have shown signs of fatigue and a lack of depth in his absence.
“It’s important to get him back,” Beilein said. “Once again, we have a very limited bench right now. We’ve been watching every practice trying to get No. 7 and 8 to emerge, and it’s just not happening. The games have also been such that we haven’t been able to experiment (with bench players) in games. We don’t have to experience with Caris.”
After playing the second-easiest schedule in the conference during the first half of the Big Ten season, the Wolverines will face a more stringent schedule down the stretch starting with back-to-back home games against No. 22 Indiana and No. 10 Michigan State this week.
“We’re really proud of that,” Beilein said of his team’s performance without LeVert. “I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade, but probably the strength of our schedule in the first nine wasn’t what it’s going to be in the next nine. … We have bigger challenges, and it would be great to have Caris back sooner rather than later.”