Michigan basketball center Ben Cronin out for the year, career may be over
For now - and probably for good - Cronin's college basketball career is over due to his ailing hip.
"We met with the doctors, and they’ve concluded that to continue to try and play at this level and any level really, competitive, hard basketball could very possibly do more damage than good," Beilein said. "You all have seen it, I just wish some of you could have seen it when he was 17 years old, and that gave him so much promise."
The promise never materialized. Cronin injured his left hip early in his freshman season last year and had surgery on Jan. 14. After intense rehab, Cronin figured he'd be ready for the start of this season.
He ran the mile in under 6 minutes in the preseason, but Cronin's hip never completely healed.
When he played, he had a noticeable limp. He could barely jump. And earlier this month, Beilein hinted that there were concerns that this would derail the Syracuse, N.Y., native's career, one where he averaged 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds a game this year.
"It's mutual," Beilein said. "He realizes this is an uphill battle he's fighting."
Cronin will focus on academics and, as long as does well in the classroom, Michigan will honor the remainder of his 4-year scholarship, although it would no longer count against the Wolverines' scholarship limits.
And because Cronin would like a future in teaching and coaching - a Michigan assistant coach noted Sunday now well he works with children during the Wolverines' Kids Kicking Cancer charity event in Crisler Arena - Beilein would like to keep him around the team in a yet-to-be determined role.
"This has been a long process for my family and me, however, after meeting with our doctors I feel it is best for my long term health to focus on my hip rehabilitation and stop playing college basketball,” Cronin said in a statement. "I really appreciated basketball and I will miss it like crazy, but my faith will help me get through this. I continue to have wonderful experiences here at the University of Michigan and I am truly grateful for all the guidance and opportunities given to me.
"I am looking forward to continuing my rehab, having the opportunity to finish my degree and helping this program in any way that I can."
Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at email@example.com or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.