- Robbi Pickeral, College Basketball
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ST. LOUIS -- North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall picked up a basketball near midcourt at the Edward Jones Dome on Thursday and dribbled it left-handed a couple of times, coach Roy Williams grinning in the background.
That's the closest the Cousy Award finalist -- whose right wrist was raised to his chest, enveloped in a splint -- has come to practicing since surgery to repair that fractured wrist on Monday.
And it's still unclear whether Marshall will be able to play when his top-seeded Tar Heels take on No. 13 Ohio on Friday in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals, though Williams said he has a "strong, strong inclination" that Marshall will not play.
"If he comes in to my room tomorrow and says, 'My wrist feels great,' and he drops down to the floor and does 10 right-handed pushups on his right hand, then I'll say I'll probably play his rear end," Williams said. "But I don't expect that to happen. I mean, the guy can't brush his teeth right now."
Marshall had surgery Monday to insert a screw in the wrist, which he injured during Sunday's win over Creighton. His cast was removed Wednesday and replaced with the removable splint.
"Every day it's getting better, but it's a day-to-day basis, whether I'm going to play," said Marshall, who is left-handed. "If we had to jump-ball right now, I wouldn't be playing."
Marshall said he did not practice with UNC during its closed workout Thursday morning, and he mostly watched its open practice in the afternoon, wearing a T-shirt that read "Carolina Basketball Never Stops."
Marshall said doctors have told him that his injury is healing fine, that the bone is strong and the blood flow has been good. If he were to play, he would not risk further damage.
Therefore, there will be two main factors as to whether Marshall will approach Williams about playing: "The pain, and the range of motion," he said. "If I can get a good amount of range of motion in my wrist, and I can go out there and compete and not play in any pain, those are the two things I'm looking for."
It would then be up to Williams to decide whether he could go.
Marshall said the possibility of not playing "bothers me a lot; I think it would bother any competitor. You want to be able to help your team out, but I'm trying to flip this into a positive. I don't want to put my hand in danger of getting hurt. And another big thing is, I want to be able to help my team while I'm out there. And if I can't help my team while I'm out there, I'm not going to play."
If and when he does play, he will be fitted for a different brace to wear for the game.
If Marshall, who is averaging 8.1 points and 9.8 assists, is sidelined, freshman Stilman White (4.3 minutes per game) is expected to start, with senior Justin Watts -- a wing who has played only two stints at point guard this season -- backing him up.
Marshall said he has confidence that both of his teammates can get the job done.
"My team is prepared," he said. "With or without me, they can still find a way to be successful."
Robbi Pickeral covers North Carolina men's basketball for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall said he does not know whether he will be able to play when his top-seeded team plays No. 13 Ohio on Friday in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals.