Michigan freshman wing Franz Wagner will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a non-surgical fracture to his right wrist, according to a Michigan spokesperson.
“While this is an unfortunate situation for Franz, we know he will make his return as soon as he is able,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said in a statement. “We have the finest medical staff and trainers at Michigan so we know he is in good hands.”
While Wagner is expected to make a full recovery, the news comes at a particularly poor time for the Wolverines. Wagner was expected to bring immediate offense to a Michigan team that lost Ignas Brazdeikis, Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews, a trio that combined for over half of the team’s scoring last year, to early departures in the offseason. Now, it becomes crucial to make sure the wrist fracture doesn’t become a lingering injury capable of limiting Wagner’s shooting abilities throughout the season.
At 6-foot-8, Wagner provides a rare combination of size and skill for a player capable of creating his own shot. At Big Ten Media Day on Oct. 2, Howard lauded such abilities.
“Franz is talented,” Howard said. “Franz is a big, huge pickup for us. In my opinion, if Franz lived in the U.S. he’d be the equivalent of what today’s players are rated five-star — he’s that good. And to be almost 6-foot-9 at a wing position, he has a high IQ. He’s tough, he’s skilled. He can put the ball on the floor, create his own shot, and he’s not afraid to dunk on you.
“One thing I did not mention which I should’ve mentioned first was he’s an underrated defender. We all talk about his skill level offensively, but the guy can defend. He wants to defend, and that’s the beauty of Franz. He’s going to be a pro.”
If the timetable holds, it appears the Wolverines will be without their highly-touted freshman until sometime around the team’s trip to Atlantis during the week of Thanksgiving. Wagner’s return would be a crucial boost with potential matchups against teams like North Carolina, Alabama and Gonzaga.