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The Daily Tar Heel

Theo Pinson will play for UNC men's basketball against Duke on Thursday

Junior Theo Pinson (1) celebrates with Justin Jackson (44) after a play during the N.C. State game on Jan. 8. The win over the Wolfpack was Pinson's first game this season after missing the first 16 contests with a broken foot.

Junior Theo Pinson (1) celebrates with Justin Jackson (44) after a play during the N.C. State game on Jan. 8. The win over the Wolfpack was Pinson's first game this season after missing the first 16 contests with a broken foot.

For the second time this season, Theo Pinson is back.

The junior wing will play for the No. 8 North Carolina men's basketball team (21-4, 12-2 ACC) in its 8 p.m. matchup tonight at No. 18 Duke (18-5, 6-4 ACC), UNC announced Thursday.

Pinson has played just 97 minutes this season while dealing with lingering injuries. The wing sat the first 12 games of the season with a broken bone in his foot and missed the previous three contests after rolling his right ankle.

North Carolina players and head coach Roy Williams like to call Pinson a “stat-sheet stuffer” because of his propensity to put up numbers across the board on the box score. Through six games, Pinson has averaged 6.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, adding 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals, as well.

Pinson will likely make an impact off the bench for the Tar Heels. His length will help counter some of Duke’s longer wings, like 6-foot-6 Luke Kennard and 6-foot-8 Jayson Tatum — both of whom will present matchup problems on the wing regardless of Pinson’s presence.

Pinson’s return will mean less minutes for first-year reserve Brandon Robinson, who has proved useful in limited minutes this season.

The Blue Devils come into the game with a three-game winning streak after falling, 84-82, at home to N.C. State on Jan. 23.