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Progress for UNC's Pianalto

UNC tight end Zack Pianalto hasn't played since dislocating a bone in his right foot on Sept. 12. The junior returned to practice this week, the Tar Heels' bye week, a sign that he could play against Florida State on Thursday.

Despite missing four games, Pianalto ranks third on the team in receiving yards (112). He had seven catches for 87 yards and a touchdown before injuring his foot in the fourth quarter of UNC's 12-10 win over UConn in the second week of the season.

UNC injury report

For Saturday's game with ECU:

Out: C Lowell Dyer (shoulder), WR Dwight Jones (knee), TE Zack Pianalto (foot), TE Ryan Taylor (knee)

Sorting through UNC's line issues

Offensive line is the one position North Carolina could not afford injuries. Two games into the 2009 season, the Tar Heels are scrambling for healthy bodies.

Guard Jonathan Cooper, who missed the UConn game with an ankle injury, practiced Wednesday and coach Butch Davis hopes he will be available for Saturday's game with ECU, if not be able to start.

Dyer, Pianalto out 3-4 weeks

North Carolina's offense will be without two starters for three to four weeks, UNC coach Butch Davis said Wednesday. Center Lowell Dyer (shoulder) and tight end Zack Pianalto (foot) will not play against East Carolina and could miss up to a month.

Davis said the significant injuries won't change UNC's game plan on offense.

UNC practices without Dyer, Pianalto

CHAPEL HILL — Center Lowell Dyer was in shorts and tight end Zack Pianalto was on crutches Tuesday as No. 24 North Carolina prepared for East Carolina.

Dyer missed UNC's 12-10 win over UConn with an injured right shoulder and Pianalto injured his right foot in the fourth quarter. If Tuesday's practice participation is any indication, neither will play against the Pirates on Saturday.

Injury issues for UNC's O-line

UNC could be missing two starting offensive lineman against Connecticut on Saturday. Left guard Jonathan Cooper and center Lowell Dyer are listed as questionable on the injury report released Thursday.

Cooper sprained his right ankle early in No. 19 UNC's 40-6 win over The Citadel. The redshirt freshman finished the first half but sat out the second. He did not practice Wednesday and would have to make significant progress to play on Saturday.

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