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Mitch McGary has to be healthy for the Michigan Wolverines to win a Big Ten title.
When the Michigan Wolverines opened practice on Sep. 27, John Beilein announced that Mitch McGary has been dealing with a "lower back condition," per USA Today's Mark Snyder. As a result, the USA Today Preseason All-American has been limited throughout the team's daily activities and his status is day-to-day.
The biggest concern right now is the fact that no one is saying much about the injury. McGary told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com that the Wolverines are simply "being cautious." However, Goodman wrote that another source told ESPN.com it has "become worrisome and that it could wind up being an issue this season."
Whether you choose to believe McGary or an unnamed source is irrelevant.
Until Beilein comes out and tells the world his starting power forward is healthy, which he is unlikely to do until closer to Michigan's first exhibition game, there is a major cause for concern.
It also means the Wolverines need to do whatever they can to rest McGary. If the rising sophomore has to miss a few tune-ups at the beginning of the season, so be it. Even resting him until the Puerto Rico Tip-Off would not be devastating to the 2013-14 campaign.
A healthy McGary gives the Maize and Blue a realistic shot at a Big Ten Conference title and back-to-back Final Fours.
Without McGary in the post, though, Michigan would no longer have a major scoring threat on the interior. It would likely lead to the Wolverines relying too much on perimeter shots and jumpers to win basketball games.
Letting McGary's back recover is about all the Maize and Blue can do right now. It cannot afford to rush him back and risk further injury during the season.