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Thursday, January 26, 2012
Guard Eso Akunne out 6-8 weeks

By Michael Rothstein
WolverineNation

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan junior guard Eso Akunne is out for six to eight weeks after injuring his left foot during the first half of the Wolverines' 66-64 win at Purdue on Tuesday.

Akunne will have surgery on the foot Friday to insert a screw to stabilize the fifth metatarsal bone.

The Ann Arbor, Mich., native worked his way into the rotation this season, playing 12 games and averaging 1.7 points and 0.7 rebounds in 4 minutes a game for Michigan (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP). The former walk-on was used mostly as a backup to freshman point guard Trey Burke.

"We all feel bad for Eso because he has worked so hard to work his way into this rotation," Michigan coach John Beilein said in a statement. "His attitude, however, is so good that I am certain he will bounce back from this and return to practice as soon as he can.

"Eso has been a big part of this team's success over the last two years, even if that does not show up in the box score."

Michigan is hopeful Akunne will be able to return in March. The timeline the school has given would place his potential return at the beginning of the postseason.

Akunne, a preferred walk-on, has flirted with a slot in the Michigan rotation his entire career. He was 7 of 8 from the field this season and 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

His injury is the second major foot injury for the Wolverines this season. Sophomore forward Jon Horford has missed the past six weeks recovering from a stress fracture to the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot.

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