There has been a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the Michigan men’s basketball team this week. The Wolverines have been plagued by injuries to three of their starters, but the team’s nonstarters managed to beat High Point soundly on Tuesday night. With this win, the Wolverines seemingly proved that they can at least hold their own against second-tier competition.

But how are the Wolverines holding up as a team with two of their three captains — juniors Lester Abram and Graham Brown — and guard Daniel Horton, an unofficial team leader, sidelined indefinitely?

According to sophomore John Andrews — one of the players who has had to step up on this injury-incited roller coaster ride — the team’s initial reaction was one of shock.

“My initial thought was, ‘Man … wow, what is going to happen next?’ ” Andrews said. “But …you fill in the holes when they’re needed.”

When the team heard that Horton would not be suiting up against High Point and was out indefinitely, the players’ concern was augmented.

“He’s kind of been running the team since a lot of us came to the program,” sophomore Dion Harris said of Horton. “We kind of depend on him to run the team all the time. Now we’re in a position where we don’t know what’s going to happen with him.”

The consensus seems to be that — instead of looking at the absence of key players as detrimental — Michigan prefers to view its handicap as a chance to test greener players and try out lineups that coach Tommy Amaker might not have dreamed of using at the onset of this season.

“We’re trying to look at it on the bright side,” fifth-year senior J.C. Mathis said. “Coach is stressing this as an opportunity for guys who may not have played as much. We have guys that can play and that play well in practice against guys who play minutes. So they just have to do it in the game.”

The team will now look to junior Sherrod Harrell on the court — as he is the only healthy captain — until Brown is expected to return in January. Despite this, Harrell does not see his role as being altered in any way.

“I’m still doing the same thing I was doing,” Harrell said. “I’m still encouraging the guys on and off the court.”

Harrell finds comfort in the fact that Brown and Abram, who is out for the season — still have a presence in the program, even if they do not have a spot on the floor come game time.

“They’re still part of the team,” Harrell said. “They still come to practice, and even though they can’t play, they’ll be there.”

With attitudes like this, Michigan intends to pick up the pieces and do the only thing it can do in this situation — keep on playing. Most players seem at least a little apprehensive about the upcoming weeks. But the team knows that this will just be a test.

“It’s an opportunity to see what kind of player you are when things like this happen,” Harris said.

 

 

 

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