Don't expect Michigan's Isaiah Livers to return — if he does, it would be 'miraculous'

Orion Sang
Detroit Free Press

When Isaiah Livers spoke to reporters for the first time following the diagnosis of a stress fracture in his right foot, he expressed some hope about a potential return during the NCAA tournament. 

Yet at this juncture, it seems unlikely Michigan basketball will have its top shooter and senior co-captain for the postseason. 

"I wouldn’t say it’s expected, just talking with the doctors and all that, talking with coach (Juwan) Howard," Livers said Monday during an appearance on "The Michigan Insider" on WTKA-1050. "If I do (return), that’s miraculous. It will get talked about, the world is full of possibilities. Honestly, you never know, but it’s definitely one of those things where it takes a minute to fully recover.

"That will be the huge question. Coach Howard, my family and my trainer will obviously speak of that in the coming weeks. Like I said, if I can feel good enough, if I feel good to go, then you know, I’m out there because we’re going to make a tourney run, and I want to be out there with this team."

Michigan's loss of Isaiah Livers seems crushing, but it has talent to replace production ]

Michigan's Isaiah Livers, out with a foot injury, during the Big Ten tournament semifinal against Ohio State on Saturday, March 13, 2021 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Livers previously said he injured his foot on New Year's Eve in Michigan's win at Maryland before reaggravating the injury in Friday's win over the Terrapins in the Big Ten tournament. In that matchup, Livers was seen limping after a defensive possession and ultimately sat on the bench for the final 14:42 after playing 15 scoreless minutes.

His injury was announced by the program Saturday morning ahead of Michigan's semifinal matchup against Ohio State, with Livers on the sideline during the game donning a protective walking boot over his right foot. Junior forward Brandon Johns replaced Livers in the starting lineup, while freshman forward Terrance Williams saw his role expand as well. 

On the radio show, head trainer Alex Wong said he has worked with Livers on the injury in Indianapolis, where the NCAA has set up a mobile training room in the city's convention center.

And based on Wong's comments, it seems the Wolverines are far away from even considering a potential return for Livers.

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"With any injury, you just want to make sure some functional activity can be maintained," Wong said Monday. "Can he walk pain-free? Before we even fast forward to running, set shots, jump shots, shooting drills, etc., it's just getting that pain down, certainly getting him out of the walking boot.

"... And then it's just a matter of a walk-jog progression to a jogging progression to shooting, to planting, etc.. But again, it all starts with can he walk pain-free? Can we get him out of the boot? Just follow his symptoms and allow his body to heal. Keeping in mind long-term health so that hopefully, whenever that is, he pursues all the great basketball ahead of him."

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