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January 31, 2012 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-31

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8 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Horford's season in question

By BEN ESTES
Daily Sports Editor
To say the last month-and-a-
half has been a frustrating time
for Michigan forward Jon Hor-
ford would be an understate-
ment.
The sophomore has not
played a game since Dec. 10 due
to a stress frac-
ture in the fifth NOTEBOOK
metatarsal
bone in his right foot.
For a while, Horford's injury
didn't seem to be that serious,
and most didn't expect that he'd
still be sitting so long after the
injury first came to light. Hor-
ford actually played through
pain in the win over Oakland
at the Palace of Auburn Hills -
Michigan coach John Beilein
revealed that he sustained a
"stress area" in his foot after the
game against Iowa State a week
before.
At the time, Beilein said he
would rest Horford to prevent
the relatively minor injury
from becoming something more
serious. Considering the then-
20th-ranked Wolverines were
facing a pretty breezy three-
game stretch of mid-major
opponents before opening the
Big Ten season, Beilein's deci-
sion seemed natural.
But then Horford didn't play
against Penn State in the con-
ference opener, and Beilein
announced that Horford was
"week-to-week." A medical
redshirt became a legitimate
option, pending an MRI.
That MRI didn't reveal fur-
ther damage, but an X-ray a
couple weeks later showed that
Horford indeed had a stress
fracture in the metatarsal, put-
ting a potential return this sea-
son even further in doubt. While
he hasn't traveled to several of
Michigan's road games, Horford
did make the trip to Columbus
on Sunday in street clothes. He
said he's been frustrated having
to sit out.
"But that's life, and my team-
mates have been real supportive
of me," Horford said. "It's been
hard, it's always hard when you
can't play. Everyone's been help-
ing me stay up, and hopefully
in the near future I can be 100
percent."
In recent weeks, Beilein has
given periodic updates on Hor-
ford's status. First, he was doing

0
"
S

MARISSA MCCLAIN/Daily
Michigan coach Brady Hoke coached the Wolverines toa 10-2 regular season.
Hoke is third coach
to receive Maxwell
Award at Michigan

ADAM GLANZMAN/Daily
Sophomoreforward Jon Horford was injured against Oakland and hasn't entered the lineup since December.

rehab work on his own. Then, he
came back to practice doing only
some of the activities. He finally
resumed practicing full-go last
week, but Beilein said he was
rusty and wouldn't play until
he got back to full health. It's
unclear if that will happen soon.
Considering Horford still
hasn't played, and since Michi-
gan (6-3 Big Ten, 16-6 overall)
has just nine regular-season
games remaining, it appears
more and more likely that Hor-
ford will sit the rest of the year
and take a redshirt.
The move would have several
advantages. For one, it would
break up the sophomore class,
which has four other players.
The departure of five players
two years from now would hurt
roster continuity. It would also
help space out the big men on
the roster, as one of his class-
mates is redshirt sophomore
Jordan Morgan.
And Horford would have an
extra year of eligibility, mean-
ing this wouldn't be a wasted
season.
But on the flip side, the Wol-
verines are hurting for depth,
especially in the frontcourt.
Sophomore forward Evan
Smotrycz is much more natural
as a "4" man but has been forced
to take the backup center role.
And while Morgan has done a

better job of avoiding foul trou-
ble this season, he's still liable to
slip up. When he and Smotrycz
both pick up too many fouls - as
was the case against then-No.
4 Ohio State and its burly front
line on Sunday - the team's
frontcourt depth issues become
obvious. Junior forward Blake
McLimans is the next option,
but he doesn't have the physical-
ity to battle down low like Mor-
gan or Horford.
Beilein has an important
decision to make: try to get by
without Horford this season, or
bring him back and essentially
sacrifice his sophomore year for
a better chance at a strong finish
in the stretch.
"You always want to be out
there," Horford said. "You want
to be able to help your team. I
feel like the only way I can con-
tribute now is try to pick these
guys up when they come out of
the game in timeouts."
HOKE-INFLUENCED?: It
wasn't easy to notice, but in the
run-up to the tilt with the Buck-
eyes, Beilein began to refer to
the university simply as "Ohio,"
adopting the jargon popular-
ized by Michigan football coach
Brady Hoke.
Beilein continued to omit the
"State" in his press conference
after the game and in the Big
Ten Coaches' teleconference on

Monday. But he clams the lin-
guistic decision is all his own.
"I can't tell you how it's hap-
pened, it's just sort of happened
with (the football saying) 'Beat
Ohio,' " Beilein said. "I have
received no direction from
anybody. I've just adopted that
myself. But there's some unifor-
mity with what Brady's doing."
IZZO PRAISES BURKE: After
the Wolverines' 60-59 win over
then-No. 9 Michigan State on
Jan. 17, Spartans head man
Tom Izzo was reticent to praise
Michigan freshman point guard
Trey Burke.
Perhaps you can chalk it up
to Izzo being disappointed with
the loss, because he was much
more open about Burke on Mon-
day.
"I think he has (surprised),"
Izzo said. "He wasn't a top
recruit coming out (of high
school). He just kind of fits what
they do. He's done a good job
and is a very, very, very good
offensive player. He can do a lot
with the ball, uses balls screens
pretty well and shoots it very
well."
Izzo also praised Indiana
freshman forward Cody Zeller
for his contributions as a first-
year player. Michigan welcomes
Zeller and the 20th-ranked
Hoosiers to the Crisler Center
on Wednesday night.

By ZACH HELFAND
Daily Sports Editor
The season has been over for
nearly a month, but" the hard-
ware keeps rolling in for Team
132. The Maxwell Football Club
named Michigan coach Brady
Hoke as its Collegiate Coach of
the Year on Monday.
The award is Hoke's third
this season. The first-year coach
earned Big Ten Coach of the Year
honors from both the coaches
and the media. He was also a
finalist for three other national
Coach of the Year honors.
"Coach Hoke has engineered
a tremendous turnaround in the
Michigan football program in
just one year, and it was obvi-
ous that his team improved
each week," said Mark Wolpert,
executive director of Maxwell
Football Club. "It is quite an
accomplishment to compile an
11-2 record playing a rigorous Big
Ten schedule in his first year at
the helm. Coach Hoke has set the
tone for a high degree of future
success for the Michigan pro-
gram."
Established in 1935, the Max-
well Football Club is the oldest
football club in the nation and
has named a collegiate coach of
the year since 1989. The award

was named the Joseph V. Pater-
nlo Collegiate Coach of the Year
Award for one year until the
Maxwell Club removed the name
in November of 2011.
Along with the award, Hoke
received an invite to the 75th
Maxwell Club National Awards
Gala, which will be held at the
Harrah's Atlantic City Resort
on Friday, March 2. Green Bay
Packers quarterback Aaron Rod-
gers, coach Mike McCarthy, LSU
cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and
Stanford quarterback Andrew
Luck, among others, will also
receive awards.
"(Hoke)
engineered a
tremendous
turnaround."
Hoke compiled an 11-2 record
(6-2 Big Ten) in his first year at
the helm, and with a victory
in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, he
became the third coach to win a
BCS bowl in his first season in a
new program.

6

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