CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina junior guard Dexter Strickland will miss the remainder of the season after he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on Thursday night during the Tar Heels' 82-68 victory at Virginia Tech.
UNC on Friday night announced that Strickland would miss the rest of the season after he underwent medical tests earlier in the day. Strickland had started all of the Tar Heels' 19 games.
Strickland suffered the injury early in the second half on Thursday night while driving to the basket. With 16:44 to play, he fell to the court and immediately grabbed the back of his right knee.
While sitting on the court, Strickland appeared to be in obvious pain. Teammates Stilman White and Leslie McDonald helped Strickland walk to the Tar Heels' bench, where he watched the rest of UNC's victory.
When the game ended, Strickland walked under his own power to the Tar Heels' locker room. He said then that his knee felt "sore" but that it didn't hurt nearly as badly as it did when he sustained the injury.
"I think I was so scared at first," Strickland said Thursday night. "Me being so frightened about it, it hurt even more."
Strickland said he would remain optimistic until undergoing tests on Friday. Those tests, though, confirmed his fears.
UNC coach Roy Williams was unavailable for comment immediately on Friday night. But after his team's victory on Thursday night Williams said, "I hate it for Dexter."
Strickland is regarded as UNC's best perimeter defender. He also has filled in at point guard at times this season for Kendall Marshall, who was averaging 30.9 minutes of playing time entering Thursday night. Marshall played 37 minutes against Virginia Tech given Strickland's first-half foul trouble and, later, his injury.
Strickland ends his season tied for the team lead in steals, with 25. He had 39 assists, second-most among the Tar Heels. He averaged 7.5 points per game and shot a team-high 57 percent from the field.