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Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Leslie McDonald getting more practice time

By Robbi Pickeral

North Carolina junior Leslie McDonald, who underwent reconstructive surgery on his right knee in August, continues to be able to do more in practice, coach Roy Williams said during the ACC’s Tuesday conference call.

But it remains unclear when, or if, the reserve guard will return this season. And that decision won't be made for a couple of weeks, at least.

“We released [Leslie] to practice some last week, but he is not going full at practice yet,’’ Williams said. “ … Maybe it was Friday’s practice, that Leslie went and got into some 5-on-5 stuff the first half of practice, and then I told him ‘no more’ during the second half of practice.

“So we’re going to go and gradually increase it each and every time, and hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll have an announcement of what we’re going to do. But we wanted to see how he’s responding, and of course how his knee responds to the upgraded level, or load, that he’s putting on the knee.”

McDonald averaged 7 points off the bench last season, and was one of UNC’s top 3-point shooters at 38.1 percent. If he does return this season, rather than redshirt, it’s unclear where he would fit into a rotation that also features reserve sharpshooters Reggie Bullock (9.3 ppg, 18.1 mpg) and P.J. Hairston (8.3 ppg, 12.9 mpg).

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.