John Henson still game-time status

Updated: March 15, 2012, 5:34 PM ET
By Robbi Pickeral | ESPN.com

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina forward John Henson, who sat out most of the ACC tournament with a sprained left wrist, told coach Roy Williams Thursday that if a game were played that day, he believed he would have been able to play.

"I'm not convinced," Williams said Thursday afternoon.

Thus, the status of the ACC Defensive Player of the Year remains a game-time decision for Friday's NCAA matchup with 16th-seeded Vermont.

"We're going to see how it feels tomorrow, and decide from there," said Henson, whose team holds the top seed in the Midwest Region.

Henson, who is averaging double-double figures this season, suffered the injury trying to break his fall after he was fouled by Maryland in the ACC quarterfinals last week. He did not dress for Saturday's semifinal win over North Carolina State, and was available only for an "emergency situation" during Sunday's title game (which the Tar Heels lost to Florida State).

Henson said he participated in about 65 percent of the morning practice in Chapel Hill, N.C. But according to Williams, "he did not shoot the ball left-handed a single time. He did not block any shots left-handed -- you guys have seen his play, that's his dominant hand in a big, big way.

"He did block one shot, it was right-handed, and he took one jump hook right-handed and it fell about three miles short."

Henson participated in Thursday afternoon's open practice at Greensboro Coliseum, his wrist heavily taped. He favored his right hand.

Before that, he told reporters there was still discomfort and swelling in his wrist, and he had been using heat and ice to help it heal.

Henson said his wrist feels better, though, and he'd like to try to play Friday, but if not, "Sunday I feel like it will be a lot better than today, and that's two more days of rest."

Williams said there will be two evaluations Friday: a decision on whether Henson plays, and a decision about how effective he would be if he does play.

"And with me, I'm being honest, I really don't know what's the best road to take, because you pick two scenarios," Williams said. "Say you don't play him. All right, what are you saving him for? If you get beat, you're going to go home and start working on your golf game. ... Now if you do play him and he gets his wrist whacked again, OK, then that's going to hurt you down the road. So to me, it's not an easy decision."

The situation already is drawing comparisons to 2009, when UNC point guard Ty Lawson injured his toe prior to the regular-season finale against Duke, sat out the ACC tournament and then the Tar Heels' first-round NCAA game (which also was played at Greensboro Coliseum).

Lawson returned for the second-round tournament game, and UNC went on to win the national title.

Robbi Pickeral covers North Carolina for ESPN.com and can be reached at bylinerp@gmail.com. Follow Robbi on Twitter: @bylinerp.

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