And the hits keep coming. According to multiple sources on Twitter, Joel James has been diagnosed with a concussion that he received at some point during the Wake Forest game last Wednesday. No one is certain as to how the injury was obtained, but Roy Williams did comment in his afternoon press conference that James had been held out of practice the past two days for that reason. James did play during last Saturday’s loss to Miami, but only logged nine minutes of action and went 0-1 from the field.
Not having James available gives Coach Williams, a lack of depth in the front court where he didn’t have much to begin with. James was going to be one of the guys that was taked with slowing down Duke’s Mason Plumlee tomorrow evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Plumlees has already established himself as one of the nation’s premier big men and has averaged 18 ppg over the course of the year. He will more than likely be the favorite for ACC Player of the Year and will most certainly be a finalist for National Player of the Year at the end of the season.
Without James, it will be that much more crucial that Carolina gets productivity from Desmond Hubert, Jackson Simmons and Brice Johnson who will all have to share the minutes James would have logged if he were healthy. Roy did confirm that James Michael McAdoo, who has had issues with his back, is expected to be good to go for practice and the game tomorrow. Knowing that he’ll be able to go gives Roy some relief with Joel’s definite absence, but no one knows how effective JMM will be playing through the pain.
James being out may effect PJ Hairston and JP Tokoto in terms of increased minutes as Roy may be inclined to put both players down low at times in order to spell the rest of his forwards a break every now and then.
There is no timetable set for Joel’s return, but it’s not unrealistic to assume that he’ll be good to go for the Virginia game this weekend. James is the third Tar Heel to have missed game action this season with Hairston and Reggie Bullock being the other two.