GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall broke a bone in his right wrist during the second half of Sunday’s win against Creighton in the NCAA tournament.
Marshall was hurt when he drove to the paint and was knocked to the floor by Ethan Wragge with 10:56 left. The left-handed point guard hit one of two free throws, then left the game briefly before returning and playing about 7 more minutes before leaving for good with 1:54 left.
Coach Roy Williams later cleared reporters out of the locker room to inform the team of Marshall’s injury. His status for North Carolina’s game against Ohio on Friday in the round of 16 in St. Louis is unclear.
“All we know right now is it’s a fracture,” Marshall said. “Luckily it’s my right hand. If it was my left hand, then we’d probably have some problems. But we’ll take it day by day and figure it out.”
Marshall has been the team’s most irreplaceable player while driving Williams’ fast-paced attack with unparalleled court vision and perfect pitch-aheads in transition. He’s averaging about 10 assists per game and set the Atlantic Coast Conference’s single-season assist record during last week’s league tournament.
The pass-first point guard scored 18 against Creighton, his sixth straight game in double figures after doing so just four times in the first 30 games. He also had 11 assists.
The Tar Heels had already lost top perimeter defender and No. 2 ballhandler Dexter Strickland to a season-ending knee injury in January, leaving only freshman Stilman White to relieve Marshall for spot duty. If Marshall can’t go, the job would likely fall to White and versatile senior Justin Watts.
Marshall’s injury hit just as junior forward John Henson returned from a sprained left wrist that had kept him sidelined for three straight games.
“I’ve seen it all from knee injuries to Kendall’s wrist,” Henson said. “We’ve just got to keep fighting and everybody’s got to step up.”
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)