Michigan guard Zak Irvin to miss 6-8 weeks after back procedure

Zak Irvin is undergoing a back procedure. (USATSI)
Zak Irvin is undergoing a back procedure. (USATSI)

Michigan junior guard Zak Irvin will undergo a procedure on his back and miss the next 6-8 weeks of action, according to a release from the program.

“We expect a 100 percent recovery for Zak after this procedure,” said coach John Beilein. “We will not rush his return, but given Zak’s work habits and determined attitude, we anticipate he will be back on the court and at full speed sometime near the beginning of our season.”

Irvin was the Wolverines’ leading scorer last season, and averaged 14.3 points per game to go with 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists. After Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton went down due to injuries, Irvin stepped up in a pretty big way and became the team’s primary scorer and weapon. Due to the lack of options around him though, his efficiency plummeted from a 60 percent true-shooting percentage as a freshman to a 51.7 percent mark as a sophomore as teams keyed on slowing him down.

This season, Irvin is expected to slide back into slightly a more complementary role behind LeVert on the wing, as the 6-7 wing returns from foot surgery. That’s where the rising junior fits best, and he could become one of the better role-playing scorers in the country if the players around him can attract more attention. He’s an absolutely terrific shooter, and last season, he showed off a stronger handle that should help him attack heavy closeouts as he works to space the floor from deep.

Eight weeks from this announcement would put us at November 4, meaning Irvin should be ready for the start of the season barring any setbacks. Michigan will need him if they hope to bounce back from last season’s disappointment. Despite a 16-16 record last year, the Wolverines are the No. 20 team in CBSSports’ preseason Top-25 (and One). They’re one of six Big Ten teams in that preseason ranking, so the conference is pretty loaded this year and he’ll be a necessity for their success.

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