Williams: Pinson 2-3 weeks at most from returning to UNC lineup

Pinson was slated to be the Tar Heels starter at shooting guard before suffering a broken bone in his right foot during the first week of preseason practice

Christine T. Nguyen—North State Journal
UNC coach Roy Williams laughs as Theo Pinson makes a surprise appearance at a press conference before the 2016 national championship in Houston (Christine T. Nguyen/North State Journal)

The North Carolina basketball team had hoped to have shooting guard Theo Pinson back in its lineup by the start of the ACC schedule. That’s not going to happen. The injured junior is still sidelined as the Tar Heels prepare for their conference opener at Georgia Tech on Saturday. But according to coach Roy Williams, it won’t be much longer before his team’s defensive stopper and emotional leader will be ready to return after missing the first 14 games with a broken bone in his right foot. “Hopefully in the next two to three weeks at most,” Williams said in a teleconference Friday. Pinson was slated to be a starter before suffering his injury during the first week of preseason practice. He had surgery to repair the break on Oct. 26 and was determined to be out of action for between 8-12 weeks. The 6-foot-6 Greensboro native was cleared to return to basketball-type activities last week and has begun taking part in what Williams called “dummy offense” at practice. He has yet to participate in a full-scale workout, something the coach said will have to happen before Pinson can start thinking about playing in a game.”He hasn’t practiced yet and that’s the biggest thing,” Williams said. “He hasn’t gotten in a defensive stance, he hasn’t boxed out. So we have to wait and start getting him in those things. “I go by what the doctors say and I’m hopeful we can get that going soon. What you’ve got to do is be able to go out and practice for two or three days and see how you feel and then practice for two or three more days and see if you’re good enough to play.” Pinson averaged 4.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 18.7 minutes per game off the bench last season while helping UNC to the national championship game. He is also the team’s resident prankster who made a name for himself by crashing Williams’ press conferences during the Tar Heels’ NCAA tournament run. In his absence, sophomore Kenny Williams, senior Nate Britt and freshman Brandon Robinson have split time at the shooting guard position.