Austin Davis of Michigan lost “extended weeks” to a foot injury; Hunter Dickinson ready

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Michigan will be deprived of its starting center for at least the near future. Austin Davis sustained a plantar fascia injury to his right foot in Michigan’s final game, Wednesday’s victory over Toledo, and will be out “for extended weeks,” according to head coach Juwan Howard.

“I’m not sure how long, but I know it’s not day to day,” Howard said Friday in a video conference with reporters.

Freshman Hunter Dickinson, who already averages nearly twice as many minutes as Davis, is expected to replace Davis in the starting lineup.

The Wolverines host Penn State on Sunday in the Big Ten opener.

Davis left Wednesday’s game, a 91-71 victory that pushed Michigan to 5-0, with 4:08 pm left after sustaining a non-contact injury. The 6-foot-10 senior had already set a career-high 12 points, scoring the game’s first 10 points for Michigan and adding a pair of free throws early in the second half.

Davis, who underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason, has entered the starting lineup this season for the first time in his career. He’s averaging six points and 3.6 rebounds in 12.4 minutes while making 12 of his 16 shots.

Dickinson, a highly touted prospect, has impressed so far. The 7-1 / 1, 255-pounder played 22.4 minutes per game, averaging 14.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and shooting 71 percent.

Howard was asked if Dickinson was ready for an increased role and more minutes.

“Hunter can handle anything thrown at him,” Howard said. “He proved it. He accepts any challenge because he’s a very competitive guy. He’s been preparing all summer up to this point, like his teammates, when it comes to his conditioning. He understands he’s going to play more minutes and I’m sure he’s excited about it too. But he’s also very disappointed that Austin isn’t there.

Dickinson said his stamina was such that he would be ready for more minutes if needed.

6-foot-8 junior forward Brandon Johns Jr. is also expected to spend more time at center. He has played there for brief periods of his career, including this season.

Howard wouldn’t go into details on potential new lineups. “Everyone on the bridge,” he said.

Isaiah Livers also virtually met the media on Friday. The senior forward mentioned not only Dickinson and Johns as candidates for more midpoint playing time, but also freshman Terrance Williams (a 6-foot-7 forward) and midfielder Jaron Faulds as well. . Faulds played his first season on a scholarship at Columbia before transferring to Michigan, where he only attempted three shots in the past two seasons.

“He’s as strong as an ox,” Livers said of Faulds. “He runs hard, he puts up screens. He’s just playing loud.

Davis is a co-captain whose presence will be missing beyond the stats sheet.

“They don’t have ‘leadership’ in the box score,” Howard said. “They didn’t ‘all in’ in the box score. They list four coaches, but Austin is also like a coach on the pitch. … He’s the kind of guy who fuels the team with positive energy.

Davis thinks he can use some of those traits off the bench, but it’s still a big blow for Michigan right before the conference starts.

“His brothers supported him,” Howard said. “You can’t replace him, but they will be there to step in and do whatever they can to help us compete and give us good quality minutes.”

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