Making senior David Merritt one of the Wolverines available to the media before Friday’s practice seemed like a curious choice.
Just two days after senior David Merritt hurt his knee against Ohio State about a month ago, Michigan coach John Beilein said in an athletic department release that the guard’s season was over.
Merritt tried to get under a screen against the Buckeyes when his knee locked. His meniscus tore, flipped over and got stuck between bones.
“I still contested the shot after it had locked out, but then I couldn’t extend my knee all the way,” Merritt said.
Merritt thought he wouldn’t play anymore, but instead of repairing the meniscus and waiting for it to heal, which takes four to six months, it was removed in Feb. 20, which shortened his recovery time.
Merritt wore a practice jersey Friday but said he was just rehabbing. When asked if he might play again this year, he said, “We’ll see” with a grin.
The West Bloomfield native was on the court for about 30 minutes before Sunday’s game against Purdue, running sprints and making cuts before his teammates took the floor for warm-ups.
He high-fived and chatted with them and also participated in some of the group warm-up. He seemed to move with ease, saying he felt “pretty good” and didn’t feel the knee too much.
Although Merritt is worried about his conditioning, Beilein said it would be great if Merritt were cleared to play even spot minutes in the Big Ten Tournament.
The Wolverines, who tipoff the tournament against Iowa Thursday, need help in the backcourt. Michigan’s guards (freshmen Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady and redshirt junior C.J. Lee) combined for 13 points, four rebounds, seven assists and 16 turnovers against Purdue.
Beilein said earlier in the season that he wishes he had more time to work with Merritt.
But because Merritt walked on to the team last year, he has another season of eligibility remaining.
Although Merritt said there’s a 50-50 chance he’ll be on the team next year, he participated in Senior Day activities Sunday. He said it felt a bit strange knowing it might not be his last game at Crisler Arena.
Merritt said he and Beilein haven’t had any long conversations about his return, but they’ve had some short talks.
For Merritt, the decision partially depends on whether he can find a good job. He plans to graduate in May and is pursuing a career in advertising or marketing.
Beilein said he’ll have to assess the team’s scholarship situation and what type of players he’ll bring in for next year to see how Merritt would fit. Two freshmen guards will join the Wolverines, and Arizona-transfer Laval Lucas-Perry will be eligible to play by midseason.
Indiana native Zack Novak committed to Michigan Friday, according to nwi.com. The 6-foot-4 swingman averages 26.9 points per game. He also had offers from Valparaiso, Colorado State, Oakland and Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne, according to the website.
Another Indianan, guard Stu Douglass, has already signed a letter of intent to play for the Wolverines next year.
All-Big Ten honors: Harris made the All-Big Ten second team and All-Freshman team. Sophomore center Ekpe Udoh earned All-Defensive team recognition. The coaches gave sophomore forward DeShawn Sims an honorable mention. Senior Ron Coleman won the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for Michigan.