Lawson's Return Still Up In The Air

By Josh Herwitt - February 11, 2008

Losing Ty Lawson hasn't been an easy obstacle for No. 5 North Carolina to overcome.

But after losing to dreaded arch-rival Duke last Wednesday in Chapel Hill, the Lawson-less Tar Heels scrapped and clawed their way back against Clemson Sunday to outlast the Tigers, 103-93, in double overtime.

And while North Carolina fans eagerly await Lawson's return from a sprained ankle suffered in an overtime win at Florida State, head coach Roy Williams just wants his players to forget about the injuries and focus on what's to come next.

"We can't do anything about the stuff that's behind us," the fifth-year coach said, "but we can do something about each and every possession doing exactly what you're supposed to do."

So on Monday, the Tar Heels still didn't know how much longer they will be without their All-American-caliber point guard, who Williams said would likely be out Tuesday when the Tar Heels travel to Charlottesville, Va., to take on Virginia.

"I don't know that there is a timetable," Williams offered. "I think we've just got to wait until he starts feeling better with it. The kid's not been hurt very often and kids that haven't been hurt think that sometimes things have to be perfect before they come back. That could be part of Tywon's deal. But at the same time it still hurts. We're just going to have to wait until it stops hurting."

What's hurt North Carolina (22-2, 7-2 ACC) more than just Lawson's injury, though, has been the season-ending ACL tear to backup point man Bobby Frasor and Marcus Ginyard's injuries, including a sprained ankle from Sunday's Clemson game and an injured toe on his left foot.

While Quentin Thomas has filled in admirably for UNC's run-and-gun offense, it will be up to Tyler Hansbrough once again to lead the way after dominating Clemson with 39 points and 13 rebounds.

And for that, Williams couldn't feel much luckier to have who he has.

"I don't know how much longer I am going to coach him, but I'd like to coach that big sucker about thirteen more years," Williams remarked after Hansbrough's performance Sunday. "When he decides to leave and I don't want any questions about that cause I could frankly don't give a damn. When he leaves I am going to consider myself the luckiest guy in the world to have coached him."

So would a lot of coaches.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 01:06 PM on February 11, 2008

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