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Maryland’s Michal Cekovsky out vs. Michigan, could return from ankle injury next week

Maryland’s Michal Cekovsky. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Maryland center Michal Cekovsky will miss Saturday’s game at Michigan with a lingering left ankle injury but is making progress and could rejoin the fold as early as next week, Terrapins Coach Mark Turgeon said Friday.

While Cekovsky has not played since Maryland’s win over Charlotte on Dec. 20 and did not return to practice this week, he was medically evaluated Wednesday and will receive another check-up later this weekend to determine whether he will be able to play Tuesday against Indiana in College Park. The junior big man, who has dealt with a rash of injuries since August, was in a walking boot during Maryland’s first two conference games in College Park.  He will make the trip with the team to Ann Arbor on Friday.

Maryland basketball focuses on getting back to the free throw line against Michigan

“The check-up [on Wednesday] went great,” Turgeon said. “Ceko is much better. . . . I think he will see a doctor again soon. He’s progressing fast. He won’t play [against Michigan], but Tuesday [against Indiana], I don’t know yet. We’ll see what happens.”

While the potential return of Cekovsky would boost Maryland’s rotation as it wades deeper into Big Ten play, it’s likely Turgeon would gradually merge the the junior back into the fold once he’s healthy enough to return. Cekovsky has already dealt with two other setbacks before this injury — a hamstring ailment suffered in August kept him out for 10 weeks, and he missed five games with a sprained foot earlier in nonconference play. He had bounced back in late November to help fill the void left by senior Damonte Dodd, who missed two games because of a concussion and another five with a sprained ligament in his left knee.

Dodd returned in Sunday’s 67-65 loss to Nebraska, giving Maryland 13 quality minutes off the bench and finishing with six points, four rebounds and one block. While it remains unclear whether Dodd will start Saturday at Michigan, he is inching closer to full strength. He said Friday that he has developed a considerable pain threshold over the course of his career and that power forwards Ivan Bender and L.G. Gill were helping pick up the production lost at the center position with Cekovsky out. But while Dodd doesn’t provide the same kind of scoring ability as Cekovsky, he is the only true center available and is still considered the team’s best rim protector.

Dodd also imposed his veteran presence following the collapse against Nebraska, and along with junior point guard Melo Trimble called for a team meeting Sunday night after the game. The tone of the meeting was “really calm,” according to Dodd, and the group reconvened again Monday to hash out any issues ahead of the trip to Michigan.

“Both meetings really helped us. We kind of got some things out of the window, what we need to work on,” Dodd said. “Then we got on the court this week and got better.”

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