North Carolina’s Joel Berry II re-injured his ankle in the first half of the Tar Heels’ Elite Eight game against the no. 2 Kentucky Wildcats.
Sprained left ankle for Joel Berry, who will try to return to the game.— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 26, 2017
This has been an issue for Berry throughout the tournament. In the Tar Heels’ first round game against Texas Southern, Berry left the game but returned for the second half, but the injury continued to linger.
UNC faces Arkansas in the second round on Sunday and Berry played, and actually did so pretty well.
Joel Berry looks healthy.— Michael Beller (@MBeller) March 19, 2017
UNC's Joel Berry II moving pretty well early on that sprained ankle. Hadn't really done much since injuring it... https://t.co/i6bvI54KKb— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 19, 2017
Saturday, coach Roy Williams said “we’ll wait and see” when asked if Berry will play, and he didn’t practice.
Roy on Joel Berry's status: "Not going to practice today, been getting treatment. I'm hopeful that he will play. But we'll wait and see."— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 18, 2017
Should UNC advance past Arkansas, the Tar Heels will get a few days off before facing the winner of Butler vs. Middle Tennessee to get even closer to 100 percent. The South region offers little reprieve so UNC better hope Berry continues to play at his best. The junior is fully fulfilling his promise as a former McDonald’s All-American.
If UNC is to make it to the Final Four, Berry will most certainly be needed going forward. Berry is averaging 14.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game this season and has established himself as the team leader without Marcus Paige around.