Sean Merriman, web editor, December 27, 2013

Michigan will be without preseason All-American Mitch McGary after head coach John Beilein announced today that the sophomore forward has elected to have a surgery performed on his lower back.

This is a huge loss for the Wolverines with the Big Ten season set to get underway next week.

Here is the full statement from Beilein:

"We want Mitch to be 100 percent healthy again. He has worked very hard over the last few months and during his earlier rehab. He was making progress in practice and games; however, lately he began to experience the same pain he had when we held him out of preseason practice this fall. Our first priority is Mitch's overall health even though I am certain he would rather be back on the court right now."

[ MORE: McGary listed on Wooden preseason top 50 ]

The Wolverines face Holy Cross on Saturday night before kicking off the Big Ten season at Minnesota on Jan. 2. McGary has appeared in eight games this season and is averaging 9.5 points and leads the team with 8.3 rebounds per game.

"My back problems have been a daily challenge ever since late August," said McGary. "We have worked hard rehabbing the injury and I thought that everything was proceeding in the right direction until the last two weeks. I have consulted with my family, my coaches and our doctors and decided the best option now is to have surgery. This was a difficult decision to make because I want to be out there with my teammates. At the same time, I need to be healthy to give everything I can on the court and help my team."

[ MORE: McGary's full bio at | Full AP story ]

Here is a video of McGary in Michigan's 72-70 loss to Arizona on Dec. 14.