"My back problems have been a daily challenge ever since late August," McGary said in a statement. "We have worked hard rehabbing the injury and I thought that everything was proceeding in the right direction until the last two weeks. I have consulted with my family, my coaches and our doctors and decided the best option now is to have surgery.
"This was a difficult decision to make because I want to be out there with my teammates. At the same time, I need to be healthy to give everything I can on the court and help my team."
McGary played eight of Michigan's 11 games this season, with all three absences resulting from back problems.
He averaged 9.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in his eight games this season. But he gained national recognition last spring when he helped the Wolverines advance to the national championship game. McGary averaged better than 14 points and 10 rebounds during Michigan's six-game tournament run. The Wolverines lost to Louisville in the title game.
McGary opted to return to school rather than turn pro. Now his pro status is up in the air.
The school offered no timetable for McGary's possible return, but it does figure to be any time soon. The Michigan's medical staff does expect him to make a full recovery.
"We want Mitch to be 100 percent healthy again," Michigan coach John Beilein said in a statement. "He has worked very hard over the last few months and during his earlier rehab. He was making progress in practice and games; however, lately he began to experience the same pain he had when we held him out of preseason practice this fall.
"Our first priority is Mitch's overall health even though I am certain he would rather be back on the court right now."