Michigan basketball forward Jon Horford has stress fracture in right foot, status in question
Beilein said an MRI prior to Michigan's win against Bradley revealed a stress fracture in Horford's foot, leaving him out for the 18th-ranked Wolverines' Big Ten opener Thursday (7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network) against Penn State, and possibly beyond that.
"He will not play (against Penn State), he has not practiced all week, and I don't know what the plan is for next week," Beilein said. "He had an MRI right before the Bradley game, and there is a stress fracture (in the fourth metatarsal of his right foot)."
Horford, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward, has not played since logging 11 minutes in a win over Oakland on Dec. 10.
Beilein said the coaching staff didn't expect any progress to the injury after Horford's last MRI, and explained again how the possibility of shutting Horford down — perhaps for the season — remains an option.
"If we feel the rest of his season's in jeopardy, then it doesn't make sense to play him," Beilein said. "Unless there comes a time in February where he says he's 100 percent healthy and he wants to play and we feel we need him to play, which is pretty obvious (we do), then he can continue on with his season."
Beilein said he'd have a better idea of Horford's long-term status in a week's time.
In nine games, Horford has averaged 2.7 points and 3.6 rebounds. Should he miss the remainder of the year, Horford will have a chance to claim a medical redshirt, as his total participation would be less than 30 percent of the team's season.
In the short term, Horford's absence creates a thin front-line rotation as the Wolverines prepare to enter Big Ten play.
Horford was being used primarily as the primary backup to both center Jordan Morgan and power forward Evan Smotrycz.
"It'll shorten (the rotation) quite a bit," Beilein said. "We're trying to get (junior forward) Blake (McLimans) more minutes, and it puts Evan in more of a five-man position. And hopefully with the emergence of (freshman guard) Carlton Brundidge right now, hopefully we can play he and Trey (Burke) at the same time so we don't do too much with Stu (Douglass) and Zack (Novak).
"Maybe we'll discover something now."
Asked if the injury to Horford would provide an opportunity for freshman forward Max Bielfeldt to see his first action of the season, Beilein answered with a maybe.
"That as brought up at the table (with the coaching staff) today," said Beilein of 6-foot-7, 240-pound Bielfeldt, who is currently in a position to redshirt the season. "But we have to see how the rest of us react, now that we're pretty sure it'll be a week or two that Jon's not going to be around, at least."
Want to stay connected to Wolverine basketball in your Facebook newsfeed? “Like” AnnArbor.com's Michigan Basketball News & Views.