UNC expects John Henson to be OK

Updated: March 11, 2012, 5:13 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ATLANTA -- North Carolina's John Henson did not play in Sunday's ACC tournament championship game because of a sprained left wrist, but the Tar Heels expect him to play in the NCAA tournament.

"We expect John will be fine next weekend," UNC coach Roy Williams said after the Tar Heels' loss to Florida State.

"Basically he felt better today but he wasn't confident and it didn't even have to get to the level of I had to decide if he would be effective or he wouldn't be effective," Williams said. "If he wasn't confident with it then in my opinion there was no need to put him out there."

Henson, who also missed Saturday's ACC semifinal game after spraining his left wrist on Friday, was in uniform Sunday but did not play. Freshman James Michael McAdoo started his second straight game in place of Henson.

Before the game, a school spokesman said Henson would only play in an emergency situation against Florida State.

Williams said after the game his defensive standout didn't feel confident and then the coach explained what would have constituted an emergency.

"If we had a one-point lead, the ball was underneath their basket with three seconds to play, I would have put him in to guard the guy taking the ball out of bounds," Williams said.

"That would have been it. If we had four guys foul out, maybe I would have put him in the middle of the zone and told him just to stand still."

Henson -- the ACC defensive player of the year who suffered the injury when he tried to break a fall after he was fouled -- was on the Philips Arena court about an hour before tipoff on Sunday. For about 15 minutes, he tested his taped left wrist by dribbling, catching and shooting, before returning to the locker room. He returned for a second warm-up before the team made its decision.

Saturday's game was the first Henson has missed in his three-year career.

Williams said after Saturday's win over NC State that had it been a Final Four matchup, Henson probably would have played. But the Tar Heels, ranked fourth in the nation and likely a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, want to continue to be cautious with their starting power forward.

Henson is averaging 14.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game.

ESPN.com's Robbi Pickeral contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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