Michigan has no timetable for coach Juwan Howard’s return after heart surgery: ‘He’s doing fantastic’

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There is no timetable for Michigan coach Juwan Howard to return to the program after he underwent heart surgery last month, assistant coach Saddi Washington said at the Big Ten media day in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Howard underwent heart surgery to remove an aortic aneurysm and to repair his aortic valve last month. Associate head coach Phil Martelli has led the program in his absence, and Washington represented the Wolverines at media day on Tuesday.

“He’s a very motivated individual to get back,” Washington said, via ESPN. “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.”

Juwan Howard is set to enter his fifth season leading the Wolverines this fall

Juwan Howard is set to enter his fifth season leading the Wolverines this fall. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today) (USA Today Sports / reuters)

Michigan announced Howard’s surgery on Sept. 15, and said he was expected to fully recover within six to 12 weeks and could return to the program in four to six weeks. The heart conditions were detected during a routine medical exam, the school said.

Howard, 50, is entering his fifth season as Michigan’s head coach. He was a member of Michigan’s iconic Fab Five team in the early 1990s, and he spent almost two decades playing in the NBA, where he won two titles with the Miami Heat. While at Michigan, Howard compiled a 79-48 overall record and led Michigan to a regular season Big Ten title and two NCAA tournament appearances. He was named the NCAA Coach of the Year in 2021, too.

Michigan went 18-16 last season and missed the NCAA tournament. Several key players from that team have since left, including big man Hunter Dickinson, who transferred to Kansas. The Wolverines will open their season on Nov. 7 against UNC Asheville.

Based on that initial timeline, Howard is expected to return to the program in the next few weeks at most. Yet the Wolverines, while Howard is progressing well, aren’t pushing it.

“He’s doing fantastic,” Washington said, via The Detroit News. “He’s in good spirits and very motivated to get back. We’re going to be really excited the first time we see him walk down that hallway and into the gym.”

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