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UNC's Kennedy Meeks, Theo Pinson hopeful of quick return

North Carolina on Wednesday advanced to the ACC tournament quarterfinals without starting center Kennedy Meeks and reserve freshman forward Theo Pinson. Both are hoping they'll be able to play soon.

Meeks and Pinson watched the Tar Heels' 81-63 victory against Boston College from the bench. Meeks didn't play while he tries to recover from an undiagnosed illness, and Pinson sat out after feeling soreness in his left foot, in which he broke a bone in January.

“It's basically day by day,” said Pinson, who returned to play in two games before encountering soreness after a recent practice. “No set date on when I'm coming back. Just how I feel that day and if the soreness goes down where I'm comfortable and I know I can be effective, I'll be back out there.”

Meeks, meanwhile, didn't practice earlier this week. He has had a fever and has been tested for a variety of ailments – mono, strep throat, the flu – and he said all of those tests have come back negative.

He scored a combined 14 points in UNC's final three regular season games, after averaging more than 12 points per game throughout the season. He said on Wednesday that he felt “fine” and that he was hoping he could play on Thursday against Louisville.

UNC coach Roy Williams, though, said Meeks was unlikely to play.

“It's been kind of on and off for about a month now – a month and a half,” Meeks said. “(I'm) just really trying to tackle this and get it over with so I won't keep feeling bad.”

Joel James started in Meeks' absence on Wednesday. He finished with six points and three rebounds in 15 minutes of playing time.

Carter: 919-829-8944;

Twitter: @_andrewcarter

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