Tim Hardaway Jr. shakes off ankle injury, nets 21 points in 31 minutes at Northwestern
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Tim Hardaway Jr. stood in the opposing locker room at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday with his right ankle in a cooler of ice.
Apparently, his right foot is still a bit tender.
Tell that to Northwestern.
Hardaway returned to Michigan's starting lineup Thursday with a bang, scoring 21 points on 6 of 8 shooting to help the second-ranked Wolverines blast host Northwestern, 94-66.
"Coach (John Beilein) just said 'if you're feeling good, see how it goes in shootaround and walkthrough,' " said Hardaway, who snapped a streak of 81 consecutive starts last Saturday against Central Michigan due to an injured ankle. "I went at it today, tried to go as hard as I can.
"It felt good, I didn't feel any pain."
Beilein showed some serious concern after the Central Michigan game about Hardaway's status moving forward, saying his ankle needed extended rest to regain its health.
But after watching the junior guard take his rehabilitation as serious as he takes his preparation for a game, Beilein said he wasn't surprised at Hardaway's performance.
"We really held him back (in practice), (on Wednesday) he went halfcourt only," Beilein said. "This is one young man, when you tell him to rehab ... when you tell him to make 100 shots, he makes 200 shots. If you tell him 'you need to be in rehab for an hour,' he'll be in there for two hours.
"That's why he's going to be successful in anything he does."
Hardaway showed very little sign of any rust, either, hitting the first four 3-pointers he hoisted and finishing the night 4 of 5 from downtown.
His ankle didn't appear to impact his leaping ability either, as he finished off an alley-oop from Trey Burke midway through the second half.
"We're real glad (he's back)," Burke said. "Just to see him back out there after his injury, back in action back in the groove, it was great."
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