Big blow for all Tar Heel fans as the school announced that starting point guard Joel Berry will be out approximately four weeks with a broken bone in his right hand.
This is massive injury news to North Carolina as Berry is instrumental in running the offense.
The four week timeline puts Berry on track to return for the PK -80 Phil Knight invitational. However, a broken bone in the shooting hand could result in a longer time frame if the pain becomes intolerable.
If Berry is indeed out a month, he is likely to miss the first three games of the season. North Carolina opens with Bucknell and Northern Iowa at home before heading west to play Stanford in a tune up before the PK-80 tournament.
Berry, who was the Final Four’s most outstanding player in 2017, was a preseason candidate for the Bob Cousey award as the Nation’s top point guard. Berry averaged 14.7 points, 3.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds and shot 38.3% from three a year ago.
North Carolina will now have to rely on sophomore Seventh Woods in a more expanded role to begin the year. Freshman Jalek Felton should see in uptick in minutes with Berry’s absence as well.
Expect to see Theo Pinson to handle a fair amount of ball handling and play-making responsibilities as well.
If there is one player, North Carolina needs at 100% full strength over the course of the season to compete come ACC time, it’s Berry so expect a cautious approach on when he returns to the court.