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Monday, March 19, 2012
UNC's Williams: 'We're uncertain'

By Robbi Pickeral

If North Carolina coach Roy Williams had to guess -- and it’s purely a guess, he stressed during his Monday night radio show -- then he would predict that point guard Kendall Marshall would not play Friday against 13th-seeded Ohio in the NCAA Midwest regional semifinal.

“But as I said, we’re uncertain,’’ he stressed.

Williams said the Monday morning surgery to insert a screw into the sophomore’s fractured right wrist “went great.”

“They felt like everything was as good as it could be on the scaphoid bone. The break, the fracture … was at a point where it does get better blood supply than other parts of the bone, and it went really, really well.”

But it’s too soon to know how well; and it could be a few more days before any decision is made on Marshall's status.

“We can talk all we want to, ‘if this’ and ‘if that’ … and that’s just a bunch of damn waste of time,’’ Williams said. “There’s nothing else to talk about until we find out what the crap is going on, and then we’ll talk about it.”

The injury occurred with 10:56 left at Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday night when Marshall -- who naturally shoots left-handed -- was driving the lane for a right-handed layup. He was fouled hard by Creighton's Ethan Wragge, and crashed to the floor. Williams said he did not think that particular foul was flagrant.

The coach cleared the locker room of reporters after the win to tell his team the bad news, and said “you could have hear a pin drop in the back of the bus,” as the Tar Heels traveled home from Greensboro. He gave the players Monday off, and he spent a lot of it at the hospital with the Marshalls.

He and Marshall’s dad, Williams said, got emotional more than once.

“I said last week: No one is indispensable,’’ he said. “But if we have somebody like that, it is Kendall Marshall. We were discussing before, ‘Well, you just lost one player.’ Well, the Indianapolis Colts just lost a guy, and last year they were in the playoffs and this year they get the No. 1 draft pick. So sometimes that one guy can be pretty important to you, and the way we play, the quarterback is extremely important.”

So how do you possibly replace the nation's top assist man, the team's leader and a Cousy Award finalist?

Williams said he wrote out a page and a half of notes and ideas Sunday night, and his assistants will do the same. Whether or not Marshall can play, reserves Stilman White and Justin Watts will have to provide extended minutes. The team will reconvene Tuesday to figure out how to move forward, despite all of the uncertainty.

Asked if the top-seeded Tar Heels -- a Final Four favorite with national championship dreams since the first practice of the year -- can still accomplish their goals without Marshall, Williams replied: “We’ll see.

“We’re sure as the dickens not going to not go. When the damn plane leaves here Wednesday night, I’m going to be on it Wednesday night. … We don’t have any idea [if he will play], but we can’t just roll up and play dead. North Carolina’s going to play. I’m going to show up to play and coach and rant and rave, and we’re going to see.”

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.