UNC's Dexter Strickland out for year

Updated: January 21, 2012, 12:04 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina junior Dexter Strickland will miss the rest of the season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament in Thursday's win at Virginia Tech.

Strickland was hurt when his knee buckled on a drive early in the second half. The school said Friday that Strickland's surgery to repair the injury hasn't been scheduled yet.

"Positive thinking!" Strickland posted on his Twitter account Friday night. "Everything happens for a reason, God always has a plan! Thanks to everyone who is praying for me! I appreciate it!"

The 6-foot-3 guard had started every game for the eighth-ranked Tar Heels, averaging about eight points and shooting a team-best 57 percent while thriving in transition. He was the team's top perimeter defender and doubled as the No. 2 ballhandler behind point guard Kendall Marshall.

The Tar Heels (16-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) are off until hosting rival North Carolina State on Thursday, leaving coach Roy Williams time to tweak the rotation. Sophomore Reggie Bullock or freshman P.J. Hairston are the most likely candidates to pick up minutes and are better perimeter shooters, though neither has Strickland's defense, ballhandling or speed in the open court.

It also could force freshman point guard Stilman White into a bigger role behind Marshall. The 6-footer is averaging less than a point in about four minutes per game.

"Any time a teammate goes down, especially one of our starters, we all have to pull together," small forward Harrison Barnes said after Thursday's victory. "Dexter has been playing really hard for us."

Strickland is the second UNC junior to suffer a serious knee injury in the past year. Outside shooting threat Leslie McDonald is likely to redshirt after tearing his right ACL during a summer league game in July.

Information from ESPN.com North Carolina blogger Robbi Pickeral and The Associated Press was used in this report.