Freshman Daniel Horton’s wrist has been taking a beating over the past several weeks, and falling on it during Saturday’s win over Penn State didn’t help. While the injured wrist has been a concern for Michigan head coach Tommy Amaker, this week is the first time that he fears the injury could affect Horton’s playing status.
Amaker said that Horton is having treatment performed on the wrist daily and that he would have a better grasp of the severity of the injury today.
He also said that he listed Horton as “probable” for tomorrow’s conference road opener against Ohio State. The wrist was wrapped up in tape when he came out for practice yesterday.
Horton originally twisted the wrist going for a steal against San Francisco on Jan. 2, and it has been bothering him ever since.
As one of the keys to Michigan’s offense, the coaching staff is being extra cautious to prevent unnecessary damage to the wrist during practice. But it is because of practice that Amaker feels Horton has been able to make tremendous strides in the season thus far.
“I think one of the reasons he has played much better this year and grown through the process has to do with the fact that he has been able to practice and put in extra work,” Amaker said. “Sometimes, when you have a nagging injury, you tend to hold back. And as a coach, knowing that he is going to play extended minutes, you are afraid that he is going to re-injure it in practice.”
But Horton insists that he is prepared to play through the injury and do whatever necessary to help the Wolverines continue their nine-game winning streak. While the injury is to his non-shooting hand, he admits that he can’t do everything he would like to be able to and is just trying to maintain his rhythm through the pain.
The injury “affects a lot of things,” Horton said. “Handling the ball and shooting in particular. The other day it was real painful to shoot, but I just had to suck it up and go ahead and try and make things happen for this team.”
The point guard has been an integral part of Michigan’s offense this year, averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists per game. But it is the nearly 35 minutes a game, with increasing playing time over the past several games, that has prevented him from fully recovering from the injury.
Amaker, who has had Horton working on cardiovascular machines to keep his level of conditioning up, admits that it is no substitute for practice.
Not stroking it: Senior Gavin Groninger came to Michigan as a pure shooter cut from the Indiana mold. But thus far this season, he has been unable to find his shooting touch.
Groninger has shot a dismal 7-of-37 from long distance to go along with his 2.3 points in 16.2 minutes per game. Over his career at Michigan, he has averaged 5.5 points per game with a .327 3-point shooting percentage.
“We have confidence in him, and we hope that things will turn around in terms of his shooting ability,” Amaker said. “But he is going to be on the floor whether he makes shots or not. He has been in our rotation, and we need him out there. It would be ideal if he could make a few – that is his forte.”
But the shooting guard has been making efforts to improve his .178 field-goal percentage. He has been working on his shooting technique with assistant coach Chuck Swenson before practice at Cristler Arena. One of the things the coaches have observed is the need for Groninger to get more “leg” into his shot to prevent him from coming up short.
“You let those thoughts creep into your head, and that’s not good,” Groninger said of his current drought. “I just need to shoot the ball in a rhythm like I normally do.”