When Theo Pinson came out in his warmup outfit for Wednesday night’s game against Northern Iowa, some speculated that it was possible the 6-foot-6, 211-pound junior was ready to come back from injury.
Pinson was wearing his warmups because he was tired of wearing a suit to games, a UNC spokesman said. Pinson broke a metatarsal bone in his right foot in late October. He hasn’t played in a game at all this season.
The good news is that Pinson had a CT scan of his injured foot earlier this week, and doctors say he is healing.
Coach Roy Williams said doctors have released Pinson for “basketball-type activities.”
“Which means getting in basketball shape and seeing what he can handle,” Williams said. “So far he’s handled it.”
Williams added that he didn’t have a specific date as to when Pinson would be back on the court.
“I think when they originally said eight to 12 weeks, I think it’s going to be closer to 12 weeks,” Williams said. “But I don’t make up my mind until trainers say he can get out on the court and start practicing, and we’ll just have to evaluate him if he’s a good player or if he’s stinking it up, working on his dance moves all season.”
Twelve weeks would mean a return by late January.
Pinson, a wing forward, played in all 40 of UNC’s games last season and was third on the team in assists with 115. He’s considered UNC’s most versatile player and is capable of playing every position except center.
Pinson started seven games at the beginning of last season while Marcus Paige worked his way back from a hand injury. Entering this season, Pinson was expected to slide into the vacancy in the starting lineup created by Paige’s departure.
“I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve been on the court with Theo,” junior Justin Jackson said. “For him, he’s all energy. He’s been working a lot on his shots, so we’re looking for him to come back and be able to knock down some shots. And then defensively, being able to kind of interrupt what they are trying to do a whole lot on offense.”
UNC senior forward Kennedy Meeks agreed.
“For him to come back is big for us,” Meeks said. “I think when he comes back he’ll be ready because you can see how anxious he is on the sidelines.”