ST. LOUIS – North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall watched his teammates from the side of the court, cradling a basketball and occasionally giving it a bounce or two with his good hand.
It might be the closest he gets to handling the ball for the Tar Heels.
Marshall said he would not be able to play if top-seeded North Carolina’s game were Thursday night because of his broken right wrist, and coach Roy Williams said he has a “strong, strong inclination” that his most irreplaceable player will not be in the lineup for tonight’s game against 13th-seeded Ohio (29-7).
“I just know the kid tells me he can’t brush his teeth yet. How the dickens can he play a basketball game if he can’t brush his teeth?” Williams said Thursday. “I mean, he can go out there with bad breath, but you’ve still got to be able to play the dadgum game.”
The left-handed Marshall was hurt Sunday when he was fouled on a drive against Creighton. He had surgery Monday to install a screw in the wrist and got his cast off Wednesday.
He wore a black brace Thursday and was keeping his arm elevated above his heart to help speed the healing.
The wrist is improving with each day, Marshall said, but his range of motion has to improve and the pain has to decrease before he’ll be ready to play again. He has not practiced since getting hurt and said he hasn’t tried dribbling.
“I don’t want to put my hand in danger of getting hurt, and also a big thing is I want to be able to help my team while I’m out there,” Marshall said.
“If I can’t help my team while I’m out there, I’m not going to push to play.”