UNC’s Hairston Concussed; Out vs. Virginia Tech
North Carolina suffered a huge blow to its reserve core following the concussion to guard P.J. Hairston during Tuesday night’s win at Boston College and he will remain doubtful for Saturday’s big game against Virginia Tech.
“We’re certainly pleased that P.J. is feeling better, but it is unlikely that he will play on Saturday,” UNC athletics trainer Chris Hirth said through a statement.
Hairston suffered the injury in the late minutes of the first half when he caught an elbow to the head in a mid-air collision from teammates Dexter Strickland. The sophomore guard writhed in pain for a few minutes and was eventually taken off the floor in a stretcher.
He was examined by the team’s training staff in the locker room and it was determined that he had a concussion and would likely sit until he was cleared to play, which could be at least another week.
Hairston has been a big part of the Tar Heels scoring load with the reserve unit, averaging 12.4 points per game this season. Against Georgia Tech, he tallied 15 points in just 17 minutes of playing time and then posted 19 points in 17 minutes in the following game against North Carolina State.
On Saturday, UNC (14-6, 4-3) will face off against Virginia Tech. While the competition is by no means fierce, the team does boast NCAA’s leading scorer per game in Erick Green. The senior guard averages a staggering 25.5 ppg and has scored 30-plus points in three contests this season (two against top-tier defenses in Virginia and Miami).
The Hokies will also return their redshirt junior Leslie McDonald, who sat out for three games due to academic performance, and is expected to have an immediate impact on the team’s offensive efficiency. He is averaging 8.4 points per game, which ranks fourth-best on his team.
The Tar Heels will hope to evolve as one of the ACC’s biggest powerhouses, like it is expected to be on a year-to-year basis. They’ve only showed their brass one time this season, defeating a top-50 team in UNLV earlier this season. Meanwhile, they have compiled four losses to top-5o teams and two more against UVA (No. 94) and Texas (No. 139).
It won’t be totally unexpected if Virginia Tech were to steal a game on the road against UNC. The team nearly knocked off Miami on Wednesday night and could be due for an upset.