Kendall Marshall fractures wrist
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Top-seeded North Carolina advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals Sunday with an 87-73 victory over Creighton, but the Tar Heels might have to continue on without their starting point guard.
Sophomore Kendall Marshall has a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist, coach Roy Williams announced after the victory.
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Kendall Marshall's status is unknown, but his importance to North Carolina's national-title hopes is not, writes Eamonn Brennan. Story
Red-eyed and trying to smile, Kendall Marshall talked about how proud he was of his team. But with his fractured right wrist enveloped in ice, it was easy to see he was in pain, writes Robbi Pickeral. Blog
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo knows the anguish North Carolina's Roy Williams is feeling. "It's a killer," Izzo told Andy Katz on Sunday night. Blog
Dana O'Neil spoke with Dr. Christopher Sforzo, a Florida-based orthopedic surgeon who says Kendall Marshall has treatment options that include allowing him to play in the tournament. Blog
Marshall's status for Friday's Round of 16 game in St. Louis is unknown, but his father, Dennis, told CBSsports.com that his son would have surgery Monday morning to insert a screw in the injured wrist.
There likely won't be an update until Monday, a team spokesman said.
Marshall, eyes red in the locker room, said the injury occurred with 10:56 left, when he was fouled hard by Creighton's Ethan Wragge.
"I kind of got pushed to the ground," Marshall said. "And I guess when I fell, I hurt my funny bone first, and that's what I was most worried about. That's fine. My wrist just got the worst of it."
The second-team All-ACC selection kept playing, hitting the first of two free throws after a timeout. He came out of the game, but then re-entered it, playing about eight more minutes until he left for good.
When asked when he felt the most pain, Marshall, who is left-handed, replied: "Any time I tried to dribble with my right hand."
Dr. Christopher Sforzo, a Florida-based orthopedic surgeon who works extensively with professional tennis players, said there are basically two options for Marshall -- immediate surgery, which would stabilize the wrist and give Marshall a chance to play, or to play with a cast.
"It's a roll of the dice either way," Sforzo said. "But they're going to have to make a decision by (Sunday night) or in the morning. If he's going to have surgery, it would have to be first thing in the morning."
Scaphoid fractures are common, especially involving a fall, and treatment depends on where the break is, Sforzo said.
"If he wanted to play, it would be difficult with a cast and he'd risk that the bone could move and then he'd need surgery," Sforzo said. "And it would be painful. I wouldn't say it would be heroic for him to play under those circumstances, but it would be very difficult."
The team spokesman said Marshall's hand would be placed in a cast Sunday night, "mostly for his comfort."
Bad Break for Carolina?
Losing Kendall Marshall would be a significant blow for North Carolina, as he had become a more dangerous scoring threat in the Tar Heels' last six games.
|Marshall||First 30 games||Last 6 games|
|3-pt FG Pct.||31.1||50.0|
|Source: ESPN Stats & Information|
"We'll speak to the hand specialist tonight with Kendall and his family, and we'll see what happens after that," Williams said after the win.
"What hurts the most is that I want to be here for my team and help them out," Marshall said. "It's yet to be determined whether I'll be able to or not, but we'll find a way to get through it."
Marshall's injury reverberated around the country among the top seeds remaining.
"What I hope is that it's not as bad as it sounds and that he can be able to play for him, for the program, and for the tournament,'" Kentucky coach John Calipari told ESPN.com's Andy Katz. "I can't answer what they'll do because this has never happened to me this late in the season. It becomes an opportunity for someone else but it can change their team."
Robbi Pickeral covers North Carolina for ESPN.com and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Robbi on Twitter: @bylinerp. ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil and Andy Katz contributed to this report.
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