Medical Update

Roy spoke at length about the injuries and what not on Monday.  The short, short version is: Deon Thompson feels better, Marcus Ginyard is better, Bobby Frasor is still out(in case you were wondering) and Quentin Thomas now has the “flu” though it is likely one of those 48 hour bugs sort of like I have right now which he probably got from Danny Green.  And concerning Ty Lawson he said he was better but Lawson would not play versus NC State.  He went into more detail about the process surrounding getting Lawson back.

 Is Lawson possibly being overly cautious in his return, with one eye looking to the future?

“I don’t think that is a factor at all. We’ve never talked about. He still has pain in the foot, and the doctors are being very cautious with it, which is what we should be. Whether I like it or not, and in fact I don’t like it, that everybody only talks about the end of the year in college basketball, but that’s what everybody talks about – it is an important time. So I think we would be making a huge mistake trying to rush somebody to get back in when [you] are still keeping your head above water and feeling like you’ve got a great chance to play at the end of the year. We’d rather be healthier at the end of the year.

“We have not discussed, and I don’t think it’s been in Ty’s mind one second about something that he’s trying to protect himself [against]. I think he wants to help the Tar Heels win, and frankly, if I had a player that I thought [that way], then I could keep him out a heck of a lot longer and could make him really be healthy.”

When Lawson comes back, does he automatically take back the starting role?

What we’ll probably do is that hopefully he’ll have a couple of days of practice where his first real action is not just in that game. And if we can get him two or three days of practice at pretty much full speed before the game, then I think the chances of him coming in and starting are much greater than it would be if we’re saying, ‘Well, we can only get 10 or 12 minutes out of him today’ and then trying to piecemeal him back in a little bit at a time.

“So I really think it depends on when we feel that we can start going with him, and whether that’s in a practice time – like I say, two or three times – or if he comes in and practices a half-hour one day and 45 minutes the next and then the next day you play a game. I think that way would be difficult to put him back in the starting lineup. But if we can have him pretty much full go for a couple of days… I think he won the starting [job] over five weeks of preseason practice and was playing great basketball.”

In terms of reasonable speculation, which is pretty much what I am here to offer, I think Ty Lawson’s ankle injury was far worse than anyone realized or was willing to say.  In fact given the healing time involved for a high ankle sprain versus the lower version, I think it is clear that is what this is despite Roy saying it was not one.    Either that or it was about as serious a sprain a player can have without actually tearing the ligaments.  My current read on this and some comments made during the radio show Monday night, I think we see Lawson back for Wake Forest but for limited minutes.  Roy’s focus is in the right place and that is on the NCAA Tournament.  He also knows Lawson needs a few games to return to full form and for the team to readjust to his presence.  That is why I think Wake Forest is the logical game for his return since it gives him three games before Duke and 5-7 games before the NCAA Tournament.  The only obstacle appears to be the pain he feels in the foot and given the degree to which Lawson uses his speed, pain down there undoubtedly slows him down.

The truth of the matter is UNC has gone from barely keeping their head above water to treading water nicely with QT running the show.  If they can keep that going, it takes the pressure of Lawson to come back before he is ready.

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14 Responses to Medical Update

  1. Will says:

    I don’t think high ankle spains happen very often in basketball, that is typically a football injury. {Not coincidentally, Ty was injured during a tackle} When those injuries happen in football, the player is often not right for the rest of the season. If Ty’s ankle never feels right, of course he will come back in time for the tournament and do the best he can, but for right now we are giving him the change to come back at maximum capacity.

    Since we have a week off after the Wake Forest game, I am guessing Ty comes back on March 1. That will give him time to get ready for the Duke game and the ACC Tournament.

  2. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Ah…I forgot about the week off. You might be right in keeping him out until after that.

  3. Dan says:

    Thanks for keeping such a frequently-updated blog. I love this site!

    I’m worried that Lawson’s health doesn’t seem to be improving much if he still isn’t doing much in practice. He’s been day-to-day for a while. Looking at the replay of the injury, he was really screaming, so it looked pretty serious. I hope he starts making significant progress soon. Speaking of which, I hope Q is okay for the game tomorrow.

  4. Will, I think you’re dead on.

    For what it’s worth, I think this situation has a chance to be like the end of the 2005 season when McCants went out with that Gastrointestinal issue and came back in time for the ACC tournament. It seemed like (after the acclimation period in the ACC tourney) it made us a stronger team in the NCAA tournament. Here’s hoping for a repeat.

  5. william says:

    Looking at 2005, we struggled mightily without McCants, including his first game back against Georgia Tech. Off the top of my head, State gave us a tough game; we barely edged Maryland, Duke was throttling us at home for a long part of the game; Clemson almost outclassed us in the ACC tournament and then we lost to a vastly inferior GIT team in the semi-finals.

    The loss of McCants was not necessarily apparent by looking at the records, as Carolina went 5-0 without him and then lost his first game back trying to get back in sync, but it was apparent that Carolina had stopped winning games by 20 points and was having to really work to win games, especially against Maryland, Duke and Clemson.

    Strangely enough, Carolina missed McCants as much or more on the defensive end as they did on the offensive end.

    With respect to Lawson, the situation is somewhat similar, even though point guard is probably a more important position.

    Carolina won tough games against FSU and Virginia, that were probably not quite as tough as the final scores indicated. Virginia hit 3 three’s in the last four minutes and to my recollection, never had the ball and a chance to go ahead. FSU hit a prayer at the buzzer and was never in it in OT. Both places are tough road sites.

    The Clemson game in Chapel Hill was about as similar a game to the one in Clemson as any that I have ever seen. Maybe we would have won more easily with Lawson in there but the two games were remarkable in their similarity. The Duke game was just bizarre all around and I don’t want to talk about it. The VPI game was sensational and it is doubtful we could have played better.

    I would say that this is still a small sample size from a difficult part of the schedule in which we probably would have expected Carolina to lose one game, which they did. Until the end, FSU played out about the way that I would have thought, with Carolina up by six to ten points; the UVa game was clearly much tougher than anyone anticipated but was striking due to the low number of minutes played by Lawson and the extreme fatigue by the entire team.

    Right now, we appear to be slightly better defensively without Lawson, but much worse offensively. This is a small sample and it is not significant. Carolina might have been expected to improve defensively anyway, while one would not expect the offense to diminish.

    Carolina has, however, lost a lot of its flair, one of its best outside shooters and free throw shooters and perhaps, some of its fear factor by opponents (although a couple more games like VPI will change that). I also think that Q’s performances seem to be more uneven than Lawson’s, who seems very consistent. This whole turn of events is beginning to resemble 1984, however, with Kenny Smith and Steve Hale, and if Lawson stays out or is permanently weakened for this year, while the Heels keep winning, then Roy will have a decision to make.

    Dean seems to believe now that he should have kept Hale in the starting line-up in 1984. As good as Lawson is, he definitely is not as good as Kenny Smith was.

    Kudos to Q, for playing well enough to even make this a discussion worth having!

  6. william says:

    http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/021908aab.html

    At times this year, Lawson has done a much better job of establishing that kind of pressure. At times, he hasn’t. When he does it consistently, he’ll start winning some defensive player of the game awards (as graded by the coaches). So far this season, he hasn’t won that honor. And here’s an even more surprising stat: Atlantic Coast Conference opponents were shooting 43.9% against the Tar Heels with Lawson in the lineup. In the five games since Ryan Reid decided to “send a message” by taking down Lawson, ACC opponents are shooting 39.7% from the field against Carolina.

  7. Josh Bowling says:

    Right on William!

  8. william says:

    Here’s some more interesting stuff from the official site:

    http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/021908aaa.html

    Quentin Thomas’s assist/turnover ratio over his last five games is 2.00. Only four other players in the ACC (Ty Lawson is one of them) have an A:TO ratio above 2.00.

    Thomas has played 165 minutes and scored 36 points in his last five games. He played 164 minutes and scored 14 points in his entire junior season.

    Under Thomas’s direction, the Tar Heels are averaging 86.4 points per game, 15.2 assists per game, and shooting 45.7% from the field against league foes. Prior to Ty Lawson’s injury against Florida State, the Tar Heels were averaging 89.2 points per game, 18.5 assists per game, and shooting 45.7% from the floor against ACC opponents.

  9. Tar Heel Fan says:

    The only issue they still struggle with is turnovers with Thomas over Lawson but aside from that they have the offense figured out with Thomas in there. Once he got 2-3 games to get acclimated and the players knew it was going to be him and now Lawson it would appear they have put it together. I think Lawson still brings more to the table but now you are not necessarily committed to having Lawson play 35 mins now. Thomas can play 10-12 minutes and the drop off is minimal.

  10. 52BigGameJames says:

    so Q is playing the way a back-up senior pg for The U of NC should be expected to play–I agree.

  11. william says:

    The old Q was such a whirling dervish out there. I remember him against Villanova back in 2005. He reminds me a bit of Mike Pepper, another somewhat derided Senior who ended up playing a big role for the Heels back in 1981.

  12. 52BigGameJames says:

    a poor-man’s Earl Monroe, lol…a very poor man!

  13. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    Lawson will start when he returns – the speed on offense to fuel the fast break can’t be duplicated. But Q is starting to run the offense better and it appears to me that he does a slightly better job than Lawson of making good entry passes to the big men in the low post. Q will be the backup but with all those solid minutes I doubt Roy will hesitate to use him inr elief of a recuperating Lawson.

  14. william says:

    Q has really surprised me with his drives down the lane, especially against Clemson….

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