P.J. Hairston plays despite cut
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Sophomore star P.J. Hairston played for third-seeded North Carolina on Saturday despite suffering a hand injury the previous night in the ACC tournament quarterfinals against Florida State.
The cut required eight stitches, and Hairston was a game-time call for the matchup against Maryland. But after taping his two fingers together, he warmed up in pregame and deemed himself fit to start.
The news was a dose of good news for the Tar Heels, who were concerned the night before.
"We're extremely concerned right now," UNC coach Roy Williams said after Friday's game. "His hand is torn up. ... We have no idea, I have no idea, won't have any idea [if he's going to play]. I've told you everything I know. It doesn't look good."
The power forward left Friday's game with 4:14 left after he sustained a cut between the middle and ring fingers on his left (non-shooting) hand.
Williams said the injury occurred when an FSU player was trying to grab a steal.
"He [Hairston] had the ball and said the guy slammed into the ball and he felt like the ball jammed between his fingers right there," Williams said.
Hairston scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting during the victory, and his presence is important to UNC's chances at a long postseason run.
The Tar Heels are 7-2 since the 6-foot-5 scorer was inserted into the starting lineup in place of 6-9 Desmond Hubert. The four-guard combination has led to a faster, more aggressive and higher-scoring team and Hairston has scored more than 20 points on four occasions since the switch.Information from ESPN.com's Robbi Pickeral was used in this report.
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