BLACKSBURG, Va. — After North Carolinas 82-68 victory here against Virginia Tech on Thursday night, Tar Heels junior guard Dexter Strickland walked on his own around the locker room. He did so with a slight limp, and he was hoping the right knee injury he suffered wouldnt be as serious as he first thought it might be.
Strickland left the game with 16:44 remaining after attempting to drive to the basket. He fell to the court near the baseline, grabbed the back of his right knee and spent about 30 seconds wincing in obvious pain.
Later, teammates Stilman White and Leslie McDonald helped Strickland off the court and onto the Tar Heels bench, where he watched the remainder of the game with an ice pack wrapped around his knee. The teams medical staff later removed the ice pack and replaced it with a support bandage.
Strickland will undergo an MRI on Friday, UNC basketball team spokesman said.
I hate it for Dexter, UNC coach Roy Williams said. I have no idea about what the extent of his injury is.
Strickland, who spent the first half in foul trouble and didnt score, was in good spirits after the game.
As the game wore on, he said, I felt a lot better.
I think I was so scared at first. Me being so frightened about it, it hurt even more. But like I said, its real sore right now well get X-rays tomorrow and see how it works.
Strickland walked on his own power from the court to the locker room. He said he was able to bend his knee, but that it felt stiff.
If Strickland is forced to miss games because of his injury, freshman guard P.J. Hairston and sophomore guard Reggie Bullock would be the most likely candidates to replace him. Strickland is considered the Tar Heels best perimeter defense, and Williams praised Bullocks defense on Thursday night.
Strickland, who entered Thursday night averaging 6.8 points per game, said he would remain optimistic until he learns the extent of his injury.
[Im going to] get some ice on it and enjoy the trip back to Chapel Hill, he said.