Beilein: Caris NOT cleared, tells reporters to "back off"

Submitted by MGoAndy on February 12th, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Beilein on LeVert: "I want to be clear about something with Caris. Nothing is clear."


Beilein says LeVert will get out there when he's ready, "I need everybody to back off, stop projecting. Thank you."


Seriously, what the hell is going on? He was cleared, now he's not? How do we just know absolutely nothing about this injury?


Beilein gets paid millions of dollars to coach this team, and he needs to be accountable to the media when our star player is out for weeks with a mysterious injury.



February 12th, 2016 at 3:02 PM ^

I'm just surprised how testy he is about it. Look, Levert is the best player (in terms of raw talent) on a team that is at risk of missing the tournament (how much at risk is a matter for debate) for the second straight year. It's the reporters' job to ask for updates on things like that.


His Dudeness

February 12th, 2016 at 3:09 PM ^

He should be testy. Some false information (about medical records none the less) was passed around by the media as a truth and on top of that it makes his star player look like shit. It's his job to defend his player as is every coachs job. Not to mention Caris is a young man and probably isnt taking all of this very well. I sure wouldn't be if I were him. The whole world is calling him soft and the truth is he is stil injured. If I were JB I would be pissed.


February 12th, 2016 at 3:30 PM ^

I totally get the part of him defending the team, and his players. I agree with you 100%. But the reporters are going to project, regardless. I guess what I should have said is that he seemed unprepared for the question, when it was obvious it would be asked. Alternatively, he could have said:

"I understand that everyone is curious as to when Caris will return, but we still don't know. There is some inaccurate information floating around that he was medically cleared, but at this point, its still up in the air. While we are all anxious for his return, his long term health obviously supersedes everything else."

I guess easy to say that sitting in my chair, though.


February 12th, 2016 at 4:42 PM ^

I agree.  The message itself is fine, assuming it is true.  The concern is th emotional tone from Beilein.  Is he reacting to stories made up by the press?  I'd like to know.  Is he frustrated with the doctors?  The training staff?  Caris himself?  Or just the situation.  

Unfortunately for him, inserting emotion into it makes it a more tantalizing story.

Bando Calrissian

February 12th, 2016 at 4:37 PM ^

I don't understand the sudden hysteria over "medical records" and injury information for public figure student athletes as some kind of private state secret to be treated with utmost secrecy. For decades coaches have been honest, or at least up front with injury information. It's not a big deal at all.

Gamesmanship does not equal medical privacy concerns.


February 12th, 2016 at 2:22 PM ^

Seriously, what is going on here?  He was cleared by the medical staff, so why isn't he playing?  Would be nice if someone who covers Michigan's basketball team could get to the bottom of this.  This is now two years in a row (last year with Walton) that a player went down with a seemingly innocuous injury that turned out to cost them basically the whole season. 


February 12th, 2016 at 2:28 PM ^

I think it's pretty clear. Caris is medically cleared but not 100%. He doesn't want to play until he's 100% so that (a) he minimizes risk of injuring it again and (b) he looks as good as possible for NBA scouts. He's not willing to risk either (a) or (b) for the sake of the team, which is a decision for Beilein and Caris to make.

If I were Beilein, though, I might tell him to shit or get off the pot. Plenty of kids play through things to help the team. That's what you do for your teammates. If you don't want to do that because you want to secure your future making millions, that's your prerogative but it's also the coach's prerogative to say you're not on the team anymore (not that Beilein would ever do that for about a million different reasons).


February 12th, 2016 at 2:33 PM ^

Agree on all your points except the premise that continuing to sit is what's in his best interest for NBA scouts.  I have to think that the more games he misses with a lower leg injury, the worse it looks.  Even coming back slowly, working his way into the rotation playing 5-10 minutes a game at first would be better for his prospects.  

Gotta say this whole thing reflects poorly on Levert, Beilein, and the training staff.  And Beilein/Levert aren't helping matters by being so secretive about it.  Are they worried that disclosing what the injury is would hurt Levert's draft stock?  Won't that information come out eventually anyway?


February 13th, 2016 at 8:23 AM ^

a follower of the football team. With Harbaugh and Hoke before them we had a constant pattern of "he's got a little booboo," etc. And everyone applauded it, including me. We just don't bother to consider if we're being consistent in our BS when it's a star member of the basketball team.


February 12th, 2016 at 3:02 PM ^

Coaches give injury updates all the time, very often on players who have ambitions of playing professionally.  I don't understand why this case is any different, particularly because every single NBA executive will be aware of Levert's medical history before the draft anyway. 

MI Expat NY

February 12th, 2016 at 3:09 PM ^

I don't think you can positively say Beilein is 100% in the right.  It's easy to say we're not entitled to information, because it's true, but that doesn't mean that providing information wouldn't be the right move for all involved.  



February 12th, 2016 at 3:17 PM ^

Why would it be the right move for all? Honest, no snark question.

Because fans want to know why Caris isnt playing? He's injured. What does it really matter if we know exactly why. 

Why give opponents an idea of what he is going through. If its an injury that people think isnt that serious and he isnt playing, why subject him to ridicule if you dont need to?

MI Expat NY

February 12th, 2016 at 3:31 PM ^

Because silence creates uncertainty.  It leads to hounding of Beilein and probably of Caris.  Playing this will he or won't he game for weeks on end makes Caris seem soft because it implies that the injury isn't that bad.  Putting it on some judgment of pain or saying it's up to Caris when he's ready to go leads to people saying he's soft because many people would say that as soon as medically cleared they would be out there.

If the injury was expected to be 6 weeks or longer and they had just said so, this would all be easier.  If there was concern about it being related to his foot issues from last year (which Beilein explicitly denied) saying so would have the effect of backing everyone off.  

The opponents thing isn't a big deal.  Once it became clear he wasn't coming back right away, i'm sure teams were preparing without him and maybe talking about him a bit in case he was out there.  It's not like football where one's injury can often be physically attacked.  


February 12th, 2016 at 9:43 PM ^

Good points. Also, unlike football strategy, basketball strategy isn't that affected by one guy. You put your best defender on their best offensive guy, and run your stuff. I know its not that simplistic, but you're not scheming to take away the Heisman-caliber RB, double covering the elite WR, or double blocking the boss DE. 

A State Fan

February 12th, 2016 at 3:32 PM ^

I don't think the player's health info is protected here. My guess is that they sign that away as part of their scholarship.
Could be wrong since I have no inside info, but with hour many coaches talk about injuries I'd think they were in the clear. Plus the school is penalty not s covered entity by HIPAA standards.


February 12th, 2016 at 3:06 PM ^

it seems like we're getting to the point where an NBA scout might say, look this guy isn't going to play through things for his teammates, despite being medically cleared, to the point where it's probably hurting his stock more than some injury.

I mean, guys get hurt all the time.  Guys get drafted hurt all the time.  People heal.  NBA scouts factor in that whole healing thing in when evaluating talent.  They also factor in heart and in that regard Caris might be hurting himself.  

I admit, I do not know the facts and circumstances, but Beilein very clearly said he's medically cleared and it's up to Caris when to return (which kind of screwed Caris a litttle by putting it all on him and put him in a situation were Beilein has to ask the media to back off).  I assume medically cleared means the medical staff doesn't think there is any more risk of reinjury than the normal risks that are always there, so you wonder how continuing to sit looks to NBA people.


February 12th, 2016 at 2:48 PM ^

Is that the doctors have "cleared" him in the sense that he can get on his feet and on the floor, and that he's been allowed to practice.  What we've read says he's practiced a certain amount, not full practices, and what's "up to him" is probably, "So how do you feel?  Do you need to rest now?  Are you feeling twinges (or whatever is related to whatever his issue is/was)?"  And that report has to come from Caris.  If he's practicing but not ready to play his full minutes or up to speed, due to fatigue and/or concern that he might re-injure or exacerbate the whatever, it's probably a mutual decision to wait, both for his good and the good of the team. 



February 12th, 2016 at 2:50 PM ^

As soon as I saw his foot get stepped on and then was out with a lower leg injury, I have assumed he repeated the stress fracture in his foot. This would explain the longevity, unpredictability, and reason for keeping it quiet (not wanting to hurt draft position with repeat injury). The dumb thing is, it's going to come out eventually and you don't have to be an expert (like I'm not) to assume this is the real issue. It also explains why it is more Caris's decision instead of the teams. It may be healed enough to play,but Caris has to decide if he wants to take a chance of it fracturing again.


February 12th, 2016 at 2:22 PM ^

Or maybe a young man's health and recovery is his own business, and not something upon which his basketball coach is obligated to keep the media informed of with regards to every single detail.

Stu Daco

February 12th, 2016 at 2:41 PM ^

Ok, but isn't there some middle ground between revealing his full medical history and reenacting the plot of National Treasure?  This has been very frustrating for the fans, and given their investment in the program, I think they are at least entitled to some straightforwardness.


February 12th, 2016 at 2:28 PM ^

We aren't entitled to any details.  Caris will be back when he's ready and the doctors say he's ready.  If he's not ready, then he's not ready.  End of discussion.

His health and privacy are more important than our need to know what's going on.


Personally, I just hope this injury isn't anything long-term, because the young man has a bright career ahead of him.


February 12th, 2016 at 2:50 PM ^

UM sports relies on its fans being passionate about the team -- it literally pays the bills. That means they care about what is going on.

It is unreasonable to expect those passionate fans to be invested in the team (buy our shirts! cheer our team! travel to Brooklyn! buy our tix packages!), and then when the best player goes out for:
- a) much longer than initially anticipated (e.g., remember all those people who thought he'd be back from Indiana?) and
- b) even after the head coach says Caris is "cleared to play" then Caris does not play

...for those fans to say, "Eh....come back whenever. We don't care."

Fans do care. He is not legally obligated to do anything; but if he doesn't want the scrutiny of big-time sports, don't play big-time sports. 

He could easily release a statement, have Beileien says something for him, whatever. But saying absolutely nothing, once you have been cleared to play, is not good.


February 12th, 2016 at 3:09 PM ^

Witholding judgement makes sense when we knew the injury was serious, but not how serious, just that it was keeping him from playing. We know his injury history and that it is/was reasonable for UM to be careful.

Once he was "cleared to play" and he has not played (and doesn't appear to be anytime soon), it is completely reasonable to expect an explanation, detailed or not.


February 12th, 2016 at 3:31 PM ^

- Before Minnesota, Caris was "cleared to play" by the UM med staff and Beilein said, "This is his call. It isn't my call."

- Now, Beilein says, "He's cleared to play when he feels 100 percent and I feel I am on board 100 percent...He will be cleared to play when he feels good and I agree with him."

Where were those "and's" a few days ago? Why is Beilein involved in the call -- now -- when before he was not?

Unless I learn differently, I assume Beilein is now taking cover fire for Levert, because he realizes how it looks when someone is "cleared to play" and then they don't. That's what head coaches do, particularly at college -- they take heat (warranted or not) for their players.