Only a few days remain before the Michigan women”s gymnastics team hosts Northern Illinois, but Michigan coach Bev Plocki is sure of just one thing: Her starting lineup won”t be set until minutes before the meet at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

“We have so many of our normal, top lineup people that aren”t able to fully participate because of injuries,” Plocki said. “It seems like whenever we take a step forward we always have to take one step backward too.”

The Wolverines” (1-2) most recent “step backward” was the heel injury to last year”s all-around national co-champion, Elise Ray. Ray bruised her heel last weekend and will probably be able to participate just on the beam and uneven bars.

The “step forward” came from the previously injured co-captain Janessa Greico, who will be able to return to the floor, and senior Shannon MacKenzie, who may compete in the vault this weekend.

This home meet will be Michigan”s first since returning from a disappointing trip to Maui, where the Wolverines scored only a 193.625 and finished third out of four teams.

“We could have scored 196 in Hawaii easily. It”s just a matter of picking ourselves up from this and competing to the best of our ability,” Plocki said.

And there is no better way to do that than by facing an 0-1 Northern Illinois team that was soundly defeated by Western Michigan last weekend.

“Hopefully Sunday we will see a different team confidence-wise than we did in Hawaii,” Plocki said. “We changed the way we approach the balance beam psychologically by putting them in more pressure-packed situations.”

But finding healthy bodies to compete on events like the balance beam may be Plocki”s toughest challenge so far this year.

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