No. 15 Tar Heels lose freshman Pinson to broken left foot

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina’s injury-depleted backcourt just got thinner.

Coach Roy Williams said Friday that freshman guard Theo Pinson has a broken bone in his left foot and will miss Saturday’s against Florida State, while sophomore Nate Britt is questionable after needing 15 stitches for a cut lip. Both injures came during Wednesday’s win at Wake Forest.

The No. 15 Tar Heels (15-4, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) are playing without three other guards due to injuries while preseason all-American Marcus Paige is playing through plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Williams said the team would’ve been down seven players had it practiced Thursday and that it had invited a junior varsity player to go through Friday’s practice.

”You have to get a little more creative and pray a little more,” Williams said.

The 6-foot-6 Pinson was injured during the first half Wednesday when teammate Joel James stepped on Pinson’s right foot in the paint on defense and Pinson’s left foot twisted awkwardly. He was averaging 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds off the bench, though he was one of the team’s better perimeter defenders and had gradually improved in recent weeks.

Williams said the team is evaluating Pinson’s treatment options and it’s unclear exactly how long he will be out.

Britt was injured late when a Wake Forest player hit him with his head on a drive to the basket. Williams said he wouldn’t practice Friday.

UNC was already without freshman point guard Joel Berry II from the regular rotation with a groin injury that has sidelined him for three games and will keep him out at least two more. He will be evaluated next week.

Seldom-used reserves Stilman White and Luke Davis are also out with foot injuries.

That leaves the Tar Heels with Paige, junior J.P. Tokoto and freshman Justin Jackson to carry the backcourt load. The Tar Heels also mixed in some zone defense Wednesday to deal with foul trouble.

”Yeah, we’re going to get tired,” Tokoto said. ”But it’s something we go through in practice every day. Guys have gone down during practice and haven’t had subs, so it’s not going to be a shock. … We’ll be fine if we can just play smart.”

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