Kendall Marshall still questionable

Updated: March 21, 2012, 8:52 AM ET
By Robbi Pickeral | ESPN.com

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Top-seeded North Carolina is preparing "100 percent" to play without point guard Kendall Marshall on Friday in the NCAA Midwest Region semifinals, coach Roy Williams said Tuesday.

There is still a chance that the Cousy Award finalist, who had surgery Monday to insert a screw into his fractured right wrist, could play against 13th-seeded Ohio. But right now, Williams said, he has "no idea" what factors will indicate whether Marshall can play, because he's in uncharted territory.

"If he comes running in here now and says, 'God, I can play!', I'll say, 'Well, let's talk about it,' " said Williams, frustrated with the continued questioning about the nation's assist leader. "But he's in a frickin' cast. ... I cannot give you any answers. I've given everybody all the answers I can give, because I have said honestly, 'I do not know.' "

Williams said Marshall, who is averaging 9.7 assists per game, did go to classes Tuesday, meaning he would likely be able to fly with the team to St. Louis when it departs Wednesday night.

Marshall's father, Dennis, told The Associated Press in a text message on Tuesday that his son was "doing much better" and experiencing less pain after surgery. He said his son was improving and had "slept through the night" Monday.

Without Marshall, the Tar Heels -- who lost backup point guard/starting shooting guard Dexter Strickland to a knee injury in January -- will use freshman Stilman White (4.3 minutes per game) and senior Justin Watts (who has played only two stints at point guard this season) as ball handlers.

Asked if anyone else might be in the mix, Williams said: "We're at our third and fourth options. If we have to go to our fifth frickin' option, we may as well put Z [7-footer Tyler Zeller] out there and see if we can draw the other big guy out and see what happens."

Marshall was hurt with 10:56 left at Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday night when the sophomore, who naturally shoots left-handed, was driving the lane for a right-handed layup. He was fouled hard by Creighton's Ethan Wragge and injured the wrist when he crashed to the floor.

He said after the game that the most serious injury he has suffered previously was a twisted ankle, as a junior in high school.

Robbi Pickeral covers North Carolina Tar Heels basketball for ESPN.com.

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