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‘No timetable’ for Howard’s return at Michigan

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‘No timetable’ for Howard’s return at Michigan

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A month after Michigan head coach Juwan Howard underwent successful heart surgery, there is “no timetable” for his return, according to Saddi Washington, an assistant under Howard.

Associate head coach Phil Martelli has been the acting head coach with Howard sidelined. But Washington represented Michigan at Big Ten media day in Minneapolis on Tuesday. Washington said Howard is motivated to return following surgery last month to fix an aortic aneurysm and repair his aortic valve.

“I feel so grateful and blessed that this surgery was performed at University of Michigan Health,” Howard said in a statement after the procedure. “My wife, Jenine, and our family appreciate the world-class care that has been provided to us. Dr. (Kim) Eagle, Dr. (Himanshu) Patel, Dr. (Stanley) Chetcuti, and all of the staff at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center are so talented and performed like champions throughout this process. I am going to work very hard in my rehabilitation to be stronger than ever by the time our upcoming season is upon us.”

The school said then that Howard could return to the program in four to six weeks, but Washington said the team is not putting any pressure on Howard to get back.

“He’s a very motivated individual to get back,” Washington said on Tuesday. “There is no timetable. We want him back when he’s ready. He’s going to listen to his team of doctors. He’s going to go through the process of working through his rehab and getting healthy. I know the competitive spirit that he is. We’re just going to hold down the fort.”

Michigan enters the 2023-24 season without the talent the team enjoyed a year ago. Hunter Dickinson, an all-Big Ten second-teamer last year, transferred to Kansas. Jett Howard, the son of the head coach, and Kobe Bufkin both turned pro.

Howard, the former Fab Five member who is entering his fifth year as the head coach at his alma mater, has reached the second weekend of the NCAA tournament in three of the last four seasons.

Michigan opens the 2023-24 regular season at home against UNC Asheville on Nov. 7.

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