LeVert undergoes surgery on left foot, will likely miss NBA Draft Combine

Sunday, March 27, 2016 - 1:11pm

For months, the Michigan men’s basketball team has refused to disclose the specifics of Caris LeVert’s injury. But both LeVert and Michigan coach John Beilein have held steady on one issue the whole time — though they weren’t willing to describe the injury itself, they felt confident that it wouldn’t require surgery.

The program reversed course on one of two fronts Saturday, announcing in a statement that LeVert successfully underwent surgery on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. The release provided no further details regarding LeVert’s injury, referring to the March 22 endeavor only as “a procedure on his left foot.”

“After the NCAA Tournament, my family and I had the opportunity to have a consultation with Dr. (Martin) O’Malley in New York,” LeVert said in the statement. “After a full evaluation, we discussed the most appropriate options for helping me and my injury as I move forward with my basketball career. After much prayer and family conversations, we were confident it was the right time to have this procedure done to make sure I reduce the possibility of injuries in the future.”

The program also quoted O’Malley in its release as defending the Wolverines’ medical staff and its decision to defer surgery until after the season. After sustaining the mystery injury in a game at Illinois on Dec. 30, LeVert appeared only once, for an 11-minute stretch, before the season’s end.

The surgery’s timetable has LeVert beginning rehabilitation in six weeks and recovering fully by summer. The NBA Draft is on June 23, meaning LeVert will all but certainly miss the NBA Draft Combine on May 10-15 in Chicago and will likely be severely limited in any other pre-draft activities, if he’s capable of participating at all.

“I would have recommended the same path the U-M medical staff followed by opting to let Caris’— if he’s capable of participating — injury heal without surgery in January and February in hopes of getting him back later in the season,” O’Malley said. “As we explored it further, we wanted to promote healing and prevention of a recurrence of this injury so we proceeded with surgery using enhancements that will yield success for years to come. Caris is expected to begin his rehabilitation in six weeks and with the expectation of a full recovery by this summer.”

LeVert also underwent surgery on his left foot in May 2014 and in January 2015. The 2014 procedure was the result of a stress injury, while the 2015 one came after LeVert injured himself in a fall in the closing seconds on the Wolverines’ January 23 win over Northwestern.

In limited action this season, LeVert averaged 16.5 points per game. Draft projections in the early season showed LeVert being taken in the later stages of the first round. More recent projections show LeVert at risk of sliding out of the first round entirely. With little opportunity to showcase his ability to NBA teams before draft day, LeVert’s status is uncertain as ever.