UNC's Strickland to play hurt

Staff WriterMarch 17, 2011 

— North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams revealed Wednesday that starting shooting guard Dexter Strickland, a sophomore, injured a knee when he ran into a photographer on the baseline during his team's 89-69 victory over Florida State on Feb. 6.

Doctors told Strickland they could operate and he would perhaps miss the rest of the season, or he could play through the pain without doing further damage, Williams said.

Strickland, who was not available for comment Wednesday, opted to play.

"That kid, he's fighting a lot of things right now," Williams said. "And a lot of people are saying, 'Dexter's not doing anything'. Dexter's doing a lot more than most people would, because most people wouldn't even be playing."

Since the home FSU game, Strickland has scored in double figures only once but has continued to play at least 21 minutes per game.

"He's a great athlete and a great player, and I'm impressed with what he's able to do, with that knee," senior forward Tyler Zeller said.

Second-seeded UNC opens NCAA play Friday in Charlotte against No. 15 seed Long Island.

robbi.pickeral@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8944

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