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Friday, February 10, 2012
Tar Heels' P.J. Hairston out with injury

By Robbi Pickeral
ESPN.com

Fifth-ranked North Carolina's perimeter has gotten even thinner now that freshman reserve P.J. Hairston will miss Saturday's game against Virginia because of a sore left foot, the school announced.

Hairston's absence further slams the depth of the Tar Heels (20-4, 7-2 ACC), who already were without guards Leslie McDonald (redshirting after reconstructive knee surgery before the season) and Dexter Strickland (who injured his knee Jan. 19 at Virginia Tech and had reconstructive surgery Thursday).

Hairston, who is averaging 6.6 points per game, was wearing a protective boot on his right foot and will not practice Friday afternoon, the school said in a news release.

The 6-foot-5 freshman from Greensboro, N.C., has been struggling with his shot, going only 10-for-46 in ACC play -- including 0-for-3 in 10 minutes during UNC's loss to Duke on Wednesday.

Without Hairston, 6-5 senior Justin Watts -- who has played both in the post and on the wing -- likely will get more minutes against the Cavaliers (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP), who boast one of the top defenses in the nation. His play will be key, as UNC's bench has managed only a total of 15 points in its past three games.

Virginia is 19-4 overall, 6-3 in the ACC. UNC, Duke and Florida State are tied for first in the conference.

Robbi Pickeral covers North Carolina men's basketball for ESPN.com. Follow her on Twitter at @bylinerp