UNC hopeful for Pinsons return, but it wont be tonight

Pinson will miss his second straight game after suffering an injury to his right ankle in last weeks win against Virginia Tech

Bob Donnan—USA Today Sports
Theo Pinson (1) reacts to a play duringin the second half if UNC's game against Florida State on Jan. 14. The Tar Heels defeated the Seminoles 96-83 at Dean E. Smith Center.

North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams is “hopeful” that junior sixth man Theo Pinson will be ready to return to action soon. But it won’t happen tonight when the Tar Heels play Pittsburgh at the Smith Center. Williams said Monday that Pinson will miss his second straight game after suffering an injury to his right ankle in last week’s win against Virginia Tech. “Theo rolled his ankle,” Williams said on his weekly radio show Monday. “That’s how we’re treating it. We’re evaluating it all the time. When guys roll their ankle, they don’t run back out there the next day. … Joel Berry rolled his ankle and missed a week or 10 days.” Pinson’s situation is of particular concern considering that he missed the first 16 games of the season while recovering from a broken bone in the same right foot. Williams has said that the current injury is unrelated to the previous one and that he’s taking a “wait-and-see” approach to Pinson’s availability. In the meantime, he said the 6-foot-6 wing is “doing some upper body stuff” with strength and conditioning coach Jonas Sahratian in the weight room. Pinson is averaging 6.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game in the six games he’s played for UNC this season. His contribution, however, goes far beyond the stat sheet. His energy off the bench was a major factor in the six-game winning streak that coincided with his return and was noticeably missing from Saturday’s loss at Miami. “He’s undefeated,” Williams said. “I like undefeated guys.” That’s why he remains hopeful Pinson will return sooner than later, though he admitted that he has no idea how long it will actually be. “I don’t know how you grade it,” the coach said on the ACC’s weekly coaches teleconference Monday. “I’m hopeful that we’ll get him back but again, I don’t have enough information right now to base that on other than I’d love to have him back because I think he adds so much to our team.”