There are days when Michigan center Josh Moore can”t roll out of bed because of the herniated disk in his back.

Moore even said that instead of progressing, his back is getting worse.

Moore said it”s not a matter of improving his condition, as “the disk is not going to miraculously slide back in place overnight.” Instead, it”s his threshold for pain that will make the difference in how much of an impact he can make for an already depth-stricken post.

This dismal situation isn”t good when he is expected to bang with the biggest bodies in the Big Ten this season. His output on the court can get frustrating at times as seen in his performance in yesterday”s final exhibition against Nike Elite: six minutes, three fouls.

It”s not the type of imposing first impression that Michigan”s 7-foot-2 center was looking to make in his 2001-02 debut, but it was one that he has to stare down. Moore admitted that the only way for his back to fully heal is through surgery, but he”s apparently not ready to submit to that.

“You never want to jump to surgery,” said Moore, who rehabilitates his back by riding a bike, enduring strenuous pool workouts and taking several medications. “I want to see if I can fight it out. It would be selfish of me to have surgery right now since they need me.”

The only other proven post player on Michigan”s roster that is over 6-foot-7 is Chris Young, the Wolverines” starting center.

Moore has to constantly battle his back in practice, as the injury has limited the amount of time he can work on his footwork and improve his conditioning.

Moore said he practices only when his body permits.

“Some weeks I can go four days,” Moore said, “but some days I can”t get out of bed.”

Moore”s absence was magnified by the fact that LaVell Blanchard, Michigan”s co-MVP last season, never even took off his sweats yesterday after warm-ups. But it was his left ankle that kept him off the court this time, instead of his problematic right ankle that forced him to miss the second half of last weeks” exhibition against the EA All-Stars.

Amaker said that Blanchard was healthy enough to play until the practice the day before the game, where he twisted his left ankle nearly three-quarters of the way through.

Broken glass: Even with the absences of key post players such as Moore and Blanchard, Amaker wasn”t pleased with the 45-31 rebounding advantage that Nike Elite held. But he was more upset that the Wolverines didn”t get back on defense as Nike Elite turned the end of the first half into somewhat of a slam dunk contest.

“It”s kind of hard to say we weren”t doing either,” Amaker said about his team not crashing the boards and still not getting back. “Our transition defense really hurt us.”

Michigan regrouped after halftime and out-rebounded Nike Elite in the second half. Freshman Chuck Bailey led the Wolverines for the second-straight game with nine.

Return to form: Sophomore Bernard Robinson also made his season debut after sitting out last game due to suspension. He netted 13 points in 21 minutes, including an electrifying dunk that brought the crowd to its feet late in the second half. But Robinson said that he still “felt a little winded” and is experiencing pain in his groin as well.

New look: The much-anticipated completion of the student bleachers brought smiles to the face of loyal Maize Ragers, who have been waiting a long time for the renovation that was delayed due to labor problems.

“I was really impressed,” said Engineering junior Jim Shehadi, who has been a member of the Maize Rage for three years. ” You could tell how much an impact it could have on the game and how much of an effect the crowd can have on changing the momentum.”

One opponent the Maize Rage picked on all day was Nike Elite guard Ted Dupay, a former standout at Florida who experienced several gambling infractions that led to his NCAA banishment. The student fan club gave him an earful, singing Kenny Rogers” famous song “The Gambler” at the first break in the action. Dupay answered by scoring 12 points, with several of his seven assists coming late in the game to help preserve Nike Elite”s victory.

Notable quotable: Michigan”s resiliency was proof of how the mentality of the Michigan basketball team has changed in the past year. Junior guard Gavin Groninger commented on the Wolverines” comeback after Nike Elite”s daunting runs of 10-0 and 16-2 in the first half. “I think that”s the point where we may have laid down last year,” Groninger said. “But this time we fought back and didn”t look back.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.