North Carolina women’s basketball forward Xylina McDaniel could miss the remainder of the season with a lower right leg injury, a team spokesman said Tuesday.
McDaniel was injured in the No. 9 Tar Heels’ 85-67 win over Elon on Dec. 21. When asked postgame about what appeared to be an ankle injury, Coach Sylvia Hatchell was unsure of the junior’s status, even fearing potential damage to her Achilles tendon.
McDaniel is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday.
The team will reevaluate the severity of the injury following the surgery to determine whether McDaniel could return later in the season.
“Other players have to step up more now that (McDaniel)’s out,” said sophomore guard Jessica Washington after UNC (12-1) beat Albany 71-56 Tuesday.
McDaniel was averaging 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds — both good for third on the team — at the time of the injury.
McDaniel was named to the Naismith Watch List earlier this month. She was also voted onto the Preseason All-ACC team before the season, her second straight year receiving the honor.
McDaniel, 6-foot-2, was North Carolina’s second-leading rebounder and shot-blocker last season as a sophomore. In her freshman campaign she was named the ACC Rookie of the Year, finishing with 11.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
With the team’s only other post players — 6-foot-2 forwards Hillary Fuller and Hillary Summers —logging the fewest minutes this season, McDaniel’s absence will likely force the Tar Heels to employ a much smaller lineup.
“We can play four guards and let Allisha (Gray) play that position,” Hatchell said. “There’s a lot of different combinations that we can do.”
Five-foot-10 guard Danielle Butts — who was averaging 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13.8 minutes of play —started in place of McDaniel on Tuesday.
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