Horford improving, could practice soon

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan sophomore forward Jon Horford is progressing from a stress fracture in his right foot that has kept him out of the past seven games.

Wolverines coach John Beilein said Horford will miss the team's games against Northwestern on Wednesday and at Iowa on Sunday as they wait for him to be cleared. Horford had an X-ray on his foot Monday and Beilein received the results Tuesday.

"There is improvement in his foot," Beilein said. "This week he's actually going to begin to start shooting on his own. We are going to do a lot of water therapy and physical therapy with him just to get him ready."

Beilein said he'll start to be able to jump on the foot and practice in limited time and hope to have him practice fully by next week.

"It'll be at least one week until we try to go full speed," Beilein said. "If he's really feeling good after seven days and we have a game in three days, can he see spot action?"

Beilein didn't rule out sitting Horford, who has averaged 2.7 points and 3.6 rebounds off the bench this season, for the remainder of the season to preserve a medical redshirt if he isn't fully healthy. He did, however, say they are going to try and see if he can start playing with Michigan as soon as possible.

In his absence, Michigan has played redshirt sophomore Blake McLimans more minutes and also moved sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz to center on occasion.

"As far as I'm concerned, I still have to do my job," redshirt sophomore forward Jordan Morgan said. "We just had to have our bench step up a lot and I think we have done a pretty good job of that. Staying out of foul trouble has been a pretty big focus.

"That was a big focus for me going into this year, but even more for me at this point."

Morgan is averaging 7.4 points and 5.7 rebounds this season.