Tim Hardaway Jr Injury: Update on Michigan Guard's Ankle

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 15:  Tim Hardaway Jr. #10 of the Michigan Wolverines plays the ball against Juwan Staten #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival on December 15, 2012 at Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Michigan Wolverines defeated West Virginia Mountaineers 81-66.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines are currently the No. 2 basketball team in the country, and Tim Hardaway Jr.'s scoring ability in the backcourt has a lot to do with their early-season success.

Hardaway may have hit a speed bump, though. According to Michigan basketball's official Twitter feed, the guard will not play versus Central Michigan Saturday night:

Tim Hardaway Jr. will not dress or play tonight vs Central Michigan due to a right ankle injury.

— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) December 29, 2012

It's hard to tell how long the Wolverines will be without Hardaway's services, but losing him for even one game is something that they would rather not see happen.

So far this season, Hardaway is averaging 15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He's still inconsistent at times, and, as a junior, he's turning the ball over more times per game than he has before, but he's still one of Michigan's most natural scorers.

Even though Hardaway is still hit-and-miss at times, though, John Beilein is still getting a lot out of his star guard. At 6'6'', Hardaway is rebounding more than he has in the past, and he's figured out how to attack the rim with more ferocity in the halfcourt.

Because he's surrounded by a handful of capable outside shooters and a trusted point guard in Trey Burke, he thrives in Beilein's wide-open offensive sets.

If Hardaway is out for more than Saturday night's game, someone will have to step up. Likely candidates would be Eso Akunne and Matt Vogrich because of their experience, but others will have to carry a larger workload as well.

Michigan hopes this is just a minor injury that won't nag Hardaway as the season moves along. With Big Ten play approaching, it will be important for him to be on the court and healthy.

Stay tuned for updates.