UNC Basketball: Update on Joel Berry’s NBA 2K injury

GREENVILLE, SC - MARCH 19: Joel Berry II /

Senior point guard gives update on broken left hand

North Carolina point guard Joel Berry II sustained an unfortunate and unlikely injury last Thursday after a heated game of NBA 2K.

The injury occurred when Berry playfully, but forcibly, struck a door after losing a game to fellow senior Theo Pinson. The result was a broken left hand that would mark the third consecutive year in which the Tar Heels would begin a season without a key player.

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It’s a silly injury, and one that could happen to any of us. However, the brief, but regrettable, lapse in judgement will cost the Tar Heel’s floor general roughly four weeks of recovery time and at least the first three games of the season.

On Thursday, one week after the injury happened, Berry gave an update on his hand, as well as a little insight into how it took place.

"“It was on a Saturday hanging out with my roommates, Theo (Pinson) and John (Bumgarner),” Berry told GoHeels.com. “We were playing NBA 2K. Theo and I have had past games where we played against each other and things get a little heated. It’s always a friendly thing and it’s about competing.”“Theo beat me, and I was on the way back to my room and jokingly hit the door…I was joking around. My pinky finger caught the door frame, and that’s what did it. I’m a college student. I know it’s a mistake. I own up to it. It’s because I’m competitive and don’t like to lose.”"

Berry is a key piece for North Carolina this season and will be paramount to the team’s success. Although unfortunate under any circumstance, it’s obviously a good thing for Berry and the Tar Heels that it happened in October, rather than March.

And according to Berry, it may not be all bad.

"“I’ve been trying to turn it into a positive,” Berry told the Carolina Insider podcast. “I want to find a way every day to better myself on and off the court. One thing I needed to work on was my left hand. Now I can only use my left hand even for daily stuff like putting in my contacts and brushing my teeth. I never realized how weak it was. I’ve been working on it for a week and a half and I can already tell I have more control of my left hand.”"

He’s the reigning Final Four Most Outstanding Player and should be the focal point of a Tar Heels team that lost much of the nucleus responsible for the school’s national championship victory in April.

As a junior, Berry averaged 14.7 points, 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. He shot better than 38 percent from three-point range and connected on 77.4 percent of his free throw attempts.

Expectations for Berry this season will be high, which is evidenced by the numerous preseason All-American teams that he’s already been named to.

Next: Cameron Johnson 2017-18 season preview

Stick with Keeping It Heel for future updates on Berry’s injury, and recovery, as we inch closer to the start of the 2017-18 college basketball season.