Commentary

Horford says he'll likely redshirt

Updated: February 6, 2012, 1:04 PM ET
By Michael Rothstein | WolverineNation

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Throughout the Big Ten season, Michigan has gone back and forth about the recovery status of sophomore forward Jon Horford from a stress fracture in his right foot suffered in December.

Now, though, it seems like a decision has been made -- and it comes from the sophomore himself.

[+] EnlargeJon Horford
AP Photo/Eugene TannerSophomore forward Jon Horford says he's still having pain in his foot and doesn't want to risk fracturing it again.
"If coach said, 'We absolutely need you to come back,' I could come back," Horford said Sunday following Michigan's 64-54 loss to Michigan State. "But other than that, I've missed so many games that I feel like coming back at this point would almost be a waste of a season."

It was a season that started with promise for the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Michigan native. He started the season opener against Ferris State. He saw valuable minutes backing up starter Jordan Morgan after that.

But a stress fracture in his right foot has sidelined him since Michigan's 63-50 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 13. He has been rehabbing since and for a little while was working in full court practices.

Now, though, he is working only in half-court settings as he continues to try and heal.

"I'm still having pain in my foot, so I don't want to risk re-fracturing it," Horford said. "I've been taking it kind of slow."

Horford, who's averaging 2.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in the nine games he has played this season, said he started to consider shutting it down for the season about a week ago, after Michigan passed the point where there were 10 games left in the regular season.

At that point, he had missed 13 straight games and wasn't cleared to practice at full speed or full strength.

"It is tough," Horford said. "It's a decision, something that I never really thought would happen to me, but things happen in life all the time and you have to adjust and adapt."

Michigan has, using redshirt sophomore Blake McLimans and sophomore Evan Smotrycz more at the 5 spot to give Morgan rest. So has Horford, who if he doesn't play in another game this season will be eligible for a medical redshirt due to NCAA guidelines, since he played in less than 30 percent of Michigan's games to start the season.

Michigan coach John Beilein, who has answered questions about Horford's health for almost two months, said last month that if he decided to play Horford again this season, it would be in consultation with the player.

"I won't make a decision until I put him in a game, and if he doesn't ever go into a game then we've made the decision," Beilein said on Jan. 31. "But it would be, if I decide to put him in a game, it would be, 'Are you sure?'

"Because I think it is fair to him, are you sure you want to go into the game, if he gets to that point."

As of last week, however, Beilein said Horford was still not cleared fully to play.

Horford has dressed for the past few games, but Beilein said last week that was because Horford "wanted to dress," not necessarily because he was closer to returning to the court.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. He can be reached at michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com or on Twitter @mikerothstein.

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