Wednesday, March 18, 2009 Updated: March 19, 10:28 AM ET
Williams: Lawson likely out Thursday
By Heather Dinich ESPN.com
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Wednesday there is a "huge, huge probability Ty Lawson will not play" in Thursday's NCAA tournament first-round game against Radford because of the injury to Lawson's right big toe.
"Some things would have to change drastically before I'd change my mind on that," said Williams, whose No. 1-seeded Tar Heels face Radford at 2:50 p.m. ET Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Williams said his point guard, the ACC Player of the Year, has been limited in the past two practices and wasn't able to do any live drills against any of his teammates. Lawson was injured in practice on March 6.
"He's not the Ty that we've all seen," guard Bobby Frasor said, "and that's just being honest."
Lawson was trapped in the corner of North Carolina's locker room by television cameras and reporters on Wednesday, as his toe is the biggest news in Greensboro right now. His right foot was in a soft, black brace, and he said he's got everything to help it heal, including tape, a gel pad, orthotics and a steel plate in his shoes.
"My shoes are filled with everything," he said. "It's just pain when I'm cutting back and forth. When I'm running straight, it's not as bad. I can deal with it. But cutting back and forth, that's when the most pain comes.
"Last week, when we were in the ACC tournament, I was just thinking, when is this going to get better? It's been like two weeks, and it's still kind of tough to run on. It's just draining to keep feeling like I'm doing all this stuff, getting up early in the morning for pool workouts and all this, and it's still not getting better."
Lawson was averaging 29.4 minutes and 15.9 points per game for the Tar Heels. Lawson's injury affects the whole team, but Frasor's role in particular. Frasor plays more minutes at shooting guard when Lawson is in the game and runs the offense when Lawson is on the bench. UNC reached the ACC tournament semifinals last weekend with Lawson on the bench.
"I'm ready for it," Frasor said. "It was nice to play some in the ACC tournament like that. I'm going through practice and doing more reps at the 1, so I'll be ready either way."
Lawson said he thinks he might be able to play Saturday because the last three days of rest have been a "big turnaround." The latest he said he might return is next Saturday.
"I'm pretty sure I'm going to play this week," Lawson said. "Hopefully. I want to."
Heather Dinich covers the ACC for ESPN.com.