Mitch McGary: Just being cautious

Updated: October 7, 2013, 12:25 PM ET
By Jeff Goodman | ESPN.com

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan sophomore Mitch McGary remains out with a back injury, but he said over the weekend that he's not overly concerned and could play now if necessary. 

"We're just being cautious," said the 6-foot-10, 260-pound big man, who has been out since the start of practice with what has been deemed by the school as a lower back condition. "I'm hoping to get back on the court in the next couple of weeks, but we're not rushing anything."

Despite optimism from both McGary and Michigan coach John Beilein, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com that McGary's injury has become worrisome and that it could wind up being an issue this season.

McGary was a bystander for much of Saturday's practice, doing some light shooting at times. He stood along the sidelines for the entire practice and appeared to be moving fine when he was shooting the ball. McGary later said it was more important for him to be on the court "in Big Ten play, when it matters" than at this time in the preseason.

Beilein also said that there's optimism McGary will be able to return in mid-October, which has been the official start of practice in the past. The NCAA pushed up the start of practice three weeks for Division I men's teams, and Beilein stressed there's no reason to rush McGary back on the court.

"He's progressing every day," Beilein said. "But there's not as much of a sense of urgency. He's day to day, but we're not going to put him out there until he's pain free. We want him to be 100 percent."

McGary averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds as a freshman, but he was a major factor in the NCAA tournament for the Wolverines -- who lost to Louisville in the national title contest. McGary averaged 14.3 points and 10.8 boards in the six postseason contests and would have likely been taken in the first round of the NBA draft.

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