By JOEDY McCREARY, Associated Press
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina coach Roy Williams says his team's "preparation is 100 percent" to play without injured point guard Kendall Marshall.
Williams says Marshall's playing status remains undecided for the Midwest Regional semifinal against Ohio on Friday night in St. Louis.
"You've got me between a rock and a hard place," Williams said Tuesday. "I cannot give you any answers. I've given everybody all the answers I can give because I've said honestly, I do not know."
Williams spoke Tuesday, two days after the left-handed sophomore broke his right wrist on a drive in the second half of a win against Creighton in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Marshall had surgery Monday to insert a screw into his wrist.
His father Dennis told The Associated Press in a text message the following day that his son is "doing much better" and experiencing less pain. He added that his son was improving and had "slept through the night."
Marshall, from Dumfries, Va., is a second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick who has 351 assists in 36 games, the best season total in league history and fourth most in NCAA history.
"I've got to try to come up with a way to replace somebody that is darn hard to replace," Williams said.
The pass-first point guard is averaging about eight points and 10 assists, though he has stepped up his offense recently and scored in double figures the past six games. He had 18 points and 11 assists in the 87-73 win against the Bluejays, his fifth double-double in that span.
He played about 7 minutes after the injury before leaving the game late with the victory secured.
Marshall has been the Tar Heels' most irreplaceable player, leading the fast-paced offense with his see-everything court vision and perfect pitch-ahead passes in transition.
The Tar Heels lost No. 2 ballhandler Dexter Strickland to a season-ending knee injury in January. If Marshall can't go, the job would fall to freshman Stilman White and versatile senior Justin Watts.
"Stilman has basically had everything thrown at him all year," Williams said, adding that Watts "has had limited portions thrown at him.
"So we'll throw a few more portions at him and try to get him a tremendous number of repetitions Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday in practice, and see if we can get them up to speed, because our preparation is 100 percent preparation to play without Kendall."
AP Basketball Writer Aaron Beard contributed to this report.
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