UNC could be without P.J. Hairston (center) on Tuesday night at No. 1 Indiana. ROBERT WILLETT
CHAPEL HILL — P.J. Hairston, the sophomore guard at North Carolina, suffered a knee injury during practice on Sunday and his status for the Tar Heels’ game at No. 1 Indiana is in doubt.
Hairston was diagnosed with a mild sprain of his left knee, UNC basketball team spokesman Steve Kirschner said on Monday. It’s unclear whether Hairston will be able to practice today.
“I don’t think he’s going to practice today and if he doesn’t practice today he’s probably not going to play tomorrow,” UNC coach Roy Williams said.
Through six games, Hairston is UNC’s third-leading scorer and is averaging 10.8 points per game. He has scored in double figures in each of the Heels’ past four games, and he made eight of his 19 3-point attempts last week during the Maui Invitational, where UNC finished in third place.
Hairston suffered his injury during a dribbling drill, said Dexter Strickland, the Heels’ senior guard. Strickland endured a torn ACL injury last year, and said he was worried at first that Hairston might have injured his ACL, too.
“But the doctor said it’s nothing wrong with his ACL and it’s nothing wrong with his meniscus,” Strickland said.
Hairston dealt with various injuries last year throughout his freshman season. At times, he hurt his wrist and ankle. Still, he only missed one game. Before UNC’s game at Kentucky last December, Hairston, dealing at the time with a wrist injury, wrote on Twitter that he wasn’t going to play in the game.
He wound up playing, and scored 11 points in 14 minutes in UNC’s 73-72 defeat.
“P.J. is a little dramatic with his injuries, so hopefully he’ll take something that will boost his strength or something, I don’t know,” Strickland said with a smile. “… With P.J., I’ll give him like two days, he’ll probably be good.”