GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It sounds as if it was a close call for North Carolina coach Roy Williams, deciding not to play forward John Henson during Friday's 77-58 NCAA tournament win over Vermont because of a sprained wrist.
And it sounds like it could be a close call again on Sunday, when the top-seeded Tar Heels play Creighton in the NCAA Round of 32.
“It has gotten a little bit better each and every day, but it hasn't gotten better at the same rate as it was earlier in the week,’’ Williams said of Henson’s wrist, which the junior sprained last Friday in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.
“I would think that if you had asked me yesterday, I would have said it's a little less than 50-50 that he was going to play today. And now, if it continues, I would say it's a little better than 50-50 that he would play Sunday. But if he still feels the same way, I won't play him.”
The Tar Heels, who sometimes don’t go through a morning shootarounds before they play an afternoon game, opted to have one at a nearby college because Williams wanted to see what Henson could do.
The player couldn't do quite enough.
“He can catch the ball now, he can palm the ball now,’’ Williams said. “Got him into the post and said, ‘All right, let me see you make ball fake drop step where you have to take a two hand power dribble and then lay it up,’ and he was able to do it and catch it. But it didn't look like he was very comfortable with it.
“So he went to the other side and did the same thing. And I went to him and I said, ‘John, it just doesn't look like you're comfortable.’ And he says, ‘Coach, not really, but I'm right there.’ And I just made the decision at that time that I wasn't going to play him.
"And I said that it's not an easy decision, I'm not holding you out saying that we're going to win, I'm just holding you out because I think it's best for you. If you're always trying to save somebody for the next game, your rear end may be going home.”
Williams said the team would go through the same sort of procedure with Henson during a short practice Saturday.
Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.