North Carolina coach Roy Williams expressed some doubt on Saturday about Joel Berry’s status for the Tar Heels’ game against Arkansas on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Berry landed awkwardly after attempting a 3-pointer with about 15 minutes remaining on Friday night during UNC’s 103-64 victory against Texas Southern. He left the game, briefly, and returned after being evaluated by Doug Halverson, the team’s head trainer.
“We have no idea if Joel Berry, what his ankle’s going to be like in another 30 hours or whatever it is,” Williams said on Saturday. “He’s not going to practice today. He’s been getting treatment. I’m hopeful that he will play. But just to wait and see.”
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Berry, the Tar Heels’ second-leading scorer, finished with three points and missed seven of his eight attempts from the field on Friday. After UNC’s victory, Berry said he landed on someone’s foot.
“I was cautious and I just – it scared me a little bit just because I twisted my other ankle earlier in the season,” he said. “So I didn’t want that same thing happening.”
Berry on Saturday said he was “feeling pretty good.”
“I’m walking better than I was yesterday,” he said. “I did a lot of treatment today. It’s just a little sore.”
If Berry is unable to play, or is limited on Sunday against Arkansas, the Tar Heels would be more reliant on reserves Nate Britt, Stilman White and Seventh Woods. All of them are point guards, and Britt and White are seniors with NCAA tournament experience.
“If I can put all three of them together and have one player at the end, I wouldn’t be that worried,” Williams said. “But Joel has been one of our leaders and not just by scoring or shooting 3-point shots, but the way he plays defense.
“But we can’t go out and draft anybody. So we’ve gotta figure out somebody to play.”
UNC vs. Arkansas
NCAA tournament second round
When: 6:10 p.m. Sunday
Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C.