Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tar Heels' Ginyard out 8 weeks

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina forward Marcus Ginyard will be sidelined for at least eight weeks after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot Wednesday, the school announced.

Doctors inserted a screw in his fifth left metatarsal, according to the news release.

Ginyard, the starting small forward, averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds last season and has been named the team's Defensive Player of the Year each of the past two seasons. He also contributes a key leadership role, and played most of last season despite hobbling around in a walking boot on his left foot because of a nagging injury to his left toe. The injuries are related, a team spokesman confirmed.

"You hate this for Marcus because he has worked so hard to get ready for his senior season, but he decided it was better to have the surgery now and be ready sometime in December, than risk a more substantial injury that would knock him of of action later in the season,'' UNC coach Roy Williams said in a prepared statement. "We will miss his play on both ends of the floor as well as his leadership with the young players. I am hopeful others will step forward to fill those roles. Marcus has been a joy to coach and I look forward to his return."

With Ginyard sidelined, senior Danny Green — one of the top sixth men in the country last season — will likely slide into the starting slot. The Tar Heels begin practice Oct. 17.

North Carolina, a Final Four favorite again after losing in the national semifinals last season, will still boast one of the deepest teams in the country. They return their seven of their top eight players — including consensus National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough — and add a four-man freshman class.

-- Robbi Pickeral