Joel James injury: North Carolina forward will miss Duke game

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina forward Joel James will have to sit out Wednesday night when his team faces arch rival Duke. The freshman suffered a concussion last week against Wake Forest.

North Carolina freshman Joel James will have to wait before he gets his first taste of the Duke-North Carolina rivalry. The Tar Heels forward suffered a concussion last week against Wake Forest and will be forced to miss Wednesday night's contest in Durham.

James has appeared in all 23 games this year for North Carolina and averages just more than 11 minutes per contest. He's put up 2.7 points and grabbed 2.9 rebounds per game.

"We found out basically just yesterday that evidently Joel took a blow to the head in the Wake Forest game, and has been having pretty severe headaches,'' coach Roy Williams told reporters. "And they did some tests and found out that -- I think I'll say this right -- that he's concussed."

James did not practice on Monday and did not tell team officials of his headaches until after North Carolina's blowout loss to Miami on Saturday.

The Tar Heels would have counted on James to help contain the talented Duke front line, which includes Player of the Year candidate Mason Plumlee, who is averaging a double-double per game this season.

Wednesday night's game will tip at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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