Roy Williams did another Tar Heel Tour event, this time in Greensboro. Inside Carolina has a full report which mostly covered the same topics as the previous ones. Roy did discuss the status of Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald as they prepare to return from each having knee surgery.
Two key pieces in North Carolina’s backcourt next season are recovering from ACL injuries. Leslie McDonald sat out the 2011-12 season after tearing his right ACL during a summer league pickup game in July.
“Leslie could have played this year if it had been his senior year and he didn’t have any more eligibility,” Williams said. “He probably would have played the last 10 or 12 games and would have been able to do that. So he’s doing fine. He practiced with us down the stretch. We let him have a day off every four or five days just to make sure that we weren’t doing too much.”
Dexter Strickland tore his right ACL in the second half against Virginia Tech on Jan. 19.
“Dexter’s rehab is right on schedule,” Williams said. “I think that when school starts in the fall, he’ll be running and doing some things. And I really feel that when we start our conditioning program, which is usually around Sept. 15, it might be a little difficult for Dexter to do the whole thing, but I think by the time practice starts he should be able to go, too.”
There has probably not been enough discussion about what either of these two players might look like coming off major knee surgery. There is less concern with McDonald from the injury standpoint since he will have had over a year to rehab since the initial ACL tear last summer. The question for him lies with the fact he has not played competitive college basketball since March, 2011. When UNC takes the court in November that will be an 18 month gap for McDonald. The concern with Strickland is he will be running pretty close to the stated timetable for full recovery. As noted above, Strickland tore his ACL at Virginia Tech on January 19th which will have him at about the nine month mark when practice opens. The rehab for an ACL tear is given as 6-9 months so Strickland will be operating just past that window. Roy also indicated Strickland could miss part of the preseason conditioning program. If that is the case, it would not surprise me if Strickland struggles a bit during the first half of the season. I also think there is a chance Strickland comes off the bench early on and Roy does indeed toss the keys to freshman Marcus Paige, assuming he is fully recovered from the stress fracture he suffered last month.
Outside of the injury information there was nothing really new and yes, Roy did spend some time ripping people who rip the players that left early for the NBA. Have fun with that.