Roy addressed the injury situation which in his press conference today. You can actually watch the whole video of it here. It is 25 minutes long but he talks about a lot of things that do not get put in media reports or quoted in transcripts on Inside Carolina.
The basic deal with Lawson is he ran with the offense in 5 on 0 and 3 on 0 situations. Roy said he was slated to do the same today and add some defensive drills all without anyone on opposing him. The money quote is this one:
And if he has no pain and feels okay after that, tomorrow we’ll try to get him into some live situations for a few minutes and if that goes well, perhaps try to play him a few minutes against Boston College.
I am going to read into this quote a little here and assume that during the practice yesterday he did not feel pain in the ankle since that appears to be the deal breaker. If that standard holds, according to Roy they will wait until Saturday morning to make the final decision. Why then? Probably to see if there is any soreness or stiffness overnight from actually putting the foot under the stress of playing basketball.
The other interesting note from the press conference addresses something raised by our community of readers here and that is how this resembles the Kenny Smith situation in 1984. Roy brought that up as well as the return of Rashad McCants in 2005:
No, I think there’s some adjustments. Every time I have ever been around that whether it is trying to get Kenny Smith back in the lineup in ’84 and taking out Steve Hale, we needed another week. Get us through another week and they cut that cast off and he’d be able to play in another week without the cast. But we had some adjustments to make there and we didn’t get the other week. In ’05 Rashad McCants came back, he missed the last four regular season games…we go to the ACC Tournament and we are an ugly basketball team. I mean, taking him out, putting him in, the adjustments of people, here is arguably our best outside shooter and now he is back, let’s make sure he gets a couple of shots to get his legs underneath him.
(Side note: If you watch the video after he talks about McCants he talks about losing to Georgia Tech and how angry he was about it just before he was to address the players when his cell phone rings. It was Tyler Hansbrough calling to tell Roy his team had won the state title in Missouri saying “We took it to ’em coach”)
Anyway, Roy is apparently very aware of the need for an adjustment period and is obviously guarding against not only the situation in 1984 but also what happened in 2005 as well. I can only assume he has some sort of plan to bring Lawson back with as little disruption as possible but he also went on to say he expects an adjustment period and would be surprised if there is not one. The only hope is, with the stakes as high as they are right now, the adjustments do not result in a loss.
Roy also mentioned that Deon Thompson is experiencing back problems that may have resulted from favoring the bad knee. If his condition is not improved during practice he may not play at all. I think Thompson’s loss can generally be adjusted for if and only if Alex Stepheson in particular can step his game up and also stay out of foul trouble. Marcus Ginyard is also struggling with his feet still but we all know he is playing because that is how he rolls.