Monday, January 4, 2010

Heels' Ginyard, Graves out for Charleston

North Carolina starters Marcus Ginyard and William Graves will miss tonight's 7 p.m. game at the College of Charleston with sprained right ankles, coach Roy Williams said this morning on the ACC's coaches teleconference call.

Reserve Justin Watts, who's also been suffering from a sprained right ankle, will play tonight. Freshman Dexter Strickland will replace Ginyard as a starter in the backcourt.

Williams said he will decide by the pregame meal at 3 p.m. today which freshman - John Henson or David Wear - will start in place of Graves. Williams said he's not just holding Ginyard and Graves out of the game as a precautionary measure . Even if the Tar Heels were playing an ACC game, Ginyard and Graves would not play.

One or both players might also miss Sunday's opener against Virginia Tech. Ginyard, the team's fifth-year senior leader, will miss his third straight game and fourth overall this season.

"I think there's a chance by Sunday that one of them could play, but I really don't know," said Williams, who couldn't even guess which player might be ready by Sunday.

During the teleconference call, Williams expressed surprise at the significance players have placed on a team meeting that took place Thursday. Players have said Williams laid out his expectations that everybody on the team, including himself, should take accountability for problems ranging from playing the wrong defense to taking bad shots.

Williams, though, said the meeting wasn't anything unusual. He said it wasn't the type of meeting where he shut the door and gave a scathing speech.

"It was just a normal meeting," Williams said. "That's what we do throughout the course of the year."

The Tar Heels are 11-3 and were ranked No. 9 in last week's Associated Press poll. Williams said the team's lack of consistent play, which he partly attributed to injuries, has led to some struggles.

The only good news for North Carolina on the injury front was that the sling Williams has been wearing on his left shoulder is coming off. He will wear it during the game tonight one last time as a precaution in case he gets bumped, but he's already not wearing it during the day.

Williams suffered a torn labrum in October when he slipped on a wet step during a charity golf outing.

"I'll be about the happiest person around (without the sling)," Williams said.

Ken Tysiac