UNC's Pianalto 'probable' to play

Tight end suffered concussion

Robbi Pickeral and Brian ConlinOctober 28, 2009 

— Junior tight end Zack Pianalto, who sustained a mild concussion during last Thursday's loss to Florida State, returned to practice Sunday and is listed as "probable" to play Thursday at Virginia Tech.

How is Pianalto ready to play so soon after the concussion?

Scott Trulock, the team's head athletic trainer, said there are various degrees of concussions, just like ankle or knee injuries. After Pianalto sustained his concussion, he was examined by the team doctor Mario Ciocca. After the game, he was examined again, and the symptoms appeared to already be gone.

The following day - Saturday - Pianalto went through a neurocognative test that examined things such as memory and balance; that was compared to the baseline test players undergo each summer, and he passed. Finally, Pianalto was put through a battery of cardio "stress" tests to see if the symptoms would return. When they didn't, he was cleared to practice Sunday.

By comparison, defensive back Jordan Hemby, who also sustained a concussion against the Seminoles, is listed as "doubtful" for Thursday's game because his symptoms persisted for several days.

UNC coach Butch Davis said that to the best of his knowledge Pianalto is 100 percent.

"We've got the leading experts in the entire field," coach Butch Davis said. "They immediately do [tests] at the ballgame. Then they test him and reevaluate him the next day. They deemed him healthy and ready to go."

Also listed as probable Tuesday: center Lowell Dyer, who has been sidelined since last month with a shoulder injury. Fellow offensive linemen Jonathan Cooper and Kyle Jolly, who returned to the starting lineup last week, are also probable to play.

More football

Man charged in UConn player's murder: Police charged a 21-year-old man with murder Tuesday in the stabbing death of a University of Connecticut football player outside a school-sanctioned dance, where the suspect's lawyer says he was just trying to break up a fight.

John William Lomax III, 21, is scheduled to appear in court today on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit assault in the Oct. 18 death of Jasper Howard, police said. His bond was set at $2 million.

Police also arrested two other people in connection with the fight that led to Howard's death. Hakim Muhammad, 20, was charged with conspiracy to commit assault and Jamal Todd, 21, faces a felony charge of falsely reporting an incident and a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment for pulling a fire alarm that emptied the dance early that Sunday morning.

None of those arrested is a UConn student. Lomax and Muhammad live in Bloomfield. Todd lives in Hartford.

Police have said that Howard was stabbed once in the abdomen during an altercation that erupted after the dance was evacuated.

Bryant to remain suspended: Oklahoma State says wide receiver Dez Bryant will remain suspended for the remainder of the football season.

School officials announced Tuesday evening they were informed of Bryant's status by the NCAA. He will be eligible to play in September 2010.

The university announced on Oct. 7 the junior was declared ineligible for lying to the NCAA about his relationship with former NFL star Deion Sanders.


Knight returns settlement to Indiana: Bob Knight's attorney has notified Indiana University that the former coach will not accept the school's $75,000 offer to settle a lawsuit.

Tuesday's results

Men's soccer

N.C. State 5, Centenary 0: Alex Sanchez scored to begin a five-goal second half for the host Wolfpack (11-3-1) in the win over the Gents (3-13-1).

Wake Forest 4, Davidson 1: Corben Bone tied a career high with three assists as the host Demon Deacons (12-2-2) defeated the Wildcats (10-6-0).

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