North Carolina point guard Joel Berry II has been dealing with an ankle injury and coach Roy Williams provided an update on Berry’s status ahead of the Tar Heel’s Final Four matchup with Oregon.
Joel Berry II played through a right ankle injury following North Carolina’s first-round win over Texas Southern with only one day off to nurse it.
Coach Roy Williams hopes that nearly a week to rest up will help Berry recover more efficiently from the left ankle issue that’s bothering him now.
During Monday’s Final Four coaches teleconference, Williams said that Berry’s schedule will be managed in order to get the point guard ready to play in Saturday night’s matchup with Oregon at University of Phoenix Stadium. Additionally, the Tar Heels are leaving a day earlier for Phoenix in part for Berry’s health.
“He’s got a full schedule of rehab,” Williams said on the teleconference. “I thought it was smarter for us to go (to Phoenix) on Tuesday because some people’s feet do swell when they get on the airplane, and if that’s going to happen to Joel I’d rather have it happen Tuesday night instead of Wednesday.
“Hopefully by the time we get to Thursday and Friday he’ll be able to do some things in practice, but I’m scared to death right now because I just don’t know.”
Berry played 34 minutes but shot just 2 of 13 from the field in North Carolina’s second-round win over Arkansas after injuring his right ankle two days prior. He was much better against Butler in the Sweet 16 after having time to recover, scoring 26 points in the Tar Heel’s blowout victory.
But in Sunday’s thrilling 75-73 Elite Eight win over Kentucky, Berry hurt his left ankle and causing the current dilemma. He left the game for roughly a four-minute stretch, although he did play 33 minutes while finishing with 11 points.
Berry said after the game that his ankle was causing him a lot of pain. There’s little chance the junior sits out against Oregon no matter the extent of the injury, but whether or not he’s playing at or near 100 percent remains to be seen.