GLENDALE, ARIZ. — Joel Berry means everything to the North Carolina men's basketball team. The Tar Heels made that clear when they left for Phoenix a day early to give the junior guard extra time to deal with the swelling in his injured ankles.
And it seems like that decision paid off for head coach Roy Williams and co. Berry looks to be a go in UNC's Final Four matchup against Oregon barring any unforeseen setbacks. After practicing in a limited capacity on Thursday, the junior was a full participant Friday.
"I wasn't feeling too good after Sunday's game," Berry said. "It was hurting me pretty bad. I don't think I could have played the next day if we had a game. And I'm glad we didn't."
Last Saturday, the day before North Carolina took down Kentucky in the Elite Eight, Berry reinjured his right ankle during UNC's practice. In the first half against the Wildcats, he sprained his left, leaving him with two hobbled ankles and six days to recover.
Berry says he's at 85 percent right now, making his status for tomorrow's game a near certainty. The news couldn't come sooner for North Carolina, which has seen the effects of not having its point guard on the court — most notably during the Tar Heels' loss to Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals.