CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – University of North Carolina men’s basketball senior forward/guard Marcus Ginyard, who has been limited to three games due to an injured left foot, will not return to action this year and will seek a medical hardship waiver from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The waiver would allow Ginyard to play a fifth season at UNC in 2009-10.
In addition, head coach Roy Williams has suspended sophomore forward Will Graves for the rest of the season.
“Marcus worked diligently on his rehabilitation program, but unfortunately his foot is still not ready for the stresses of fulltime practice and competition, therefore our recommendation was for him to not play anymore this season,” says Dr. Tim Taft, Director of Sports Medicine at the University of North Carolina.
“The decision was very tough for me, not easy at all dealing with a lot of different things that we had to talk about,” said Ginyard in a press conference after Tuesday’s game against Maryland. “I think the coaching staff, my family and I have come to the decision that ultimately is going to be best for me… Just weighing the options and looking at the situation in front of us we felt like this is the best decision for me as a player. I almost felt like if I were to play on it at this point that I wouldn’t be one hundred percent and to be out there not at one hundred percent I would feel like I was cheating my teammates.
“I think is an excellent opportunity to show what type of character this Carolina basketball team has,” said Ginyard. “There is no doubt that every national championship team has had to overcome some type obstacle. There are a lot of things that happen throughout the year with injuries and everything is not going to go your way and every championship team has been able to find a way to get through those things and to persevere. If anything, this is the most perfect situation for this team right now to be able to look at … something so negative, but this is a great opportunity for everyone to step up and for this team to pull together and for this team to work even harder. It will be even better when this team gets to where they want to be and reaches their goals even through all of this.”
Ginyard underwent surgery on October 8, 2008, to repair a stress fracture in his fifth left metatarsal. He returned to the lineup on December 28 against Rutgers and played a total of 37 minutes in games against the Scarlet Knights, Nevada and Boston College. However, he has sat out the last seven games due to the injury.
“Needless to say, not having Marcus is a huge loss for our team,” says Williams. “Not only is he our best defender, but he is our most experienced perimeter player. We have missed his presence all year. But this is clearly what is best for Marcus as an individual.”
The Alexandria, Va., native has played in 110 games at Carolina, scoring 620 points, grabbing 383 rebounds and handing out 183 assists. Ginyard was Carolina’s defensive player of the year in 2006-07 and 2008-09 and was the leading vote-getter on the coaches’ ACC all-defensive team a year ago. He made the 2008 ACC All-Tournament team after averaging 10 points a game. He started every game and averaged more than 28 minutes played last year.
“Will Graves(Dudley HS) will not represent UNC in competition for the rest of the season,” says Williams. “Unfortunately, Will did not maintain the standards we expect of a Carolina basketball player. He will remain a part of our program and participate in practice and all other team activities. His status for 2009-2010 will be determined prior to next season.”
Graves played in 20 games this year, averaging 4.0 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He scored a season-high 10 points against Evansville.
“Will being out obviously adds to the loss of Marcus and is huge for our team,” says Williams. “Will improved his game on both ends of the floor and he will be missed. Their loss definitely takes away a tremendous part of our team, the depth, that everyone had talked about going into this season. Coming into this season we thought it would be the most depth I ever coached and that certainly has not been the case.”
“I dreamed of playing basketball for Carolina as a kid, so I am very disappointed that I am not able to play the rest of the season,” says Graves. “But I respect the decision Coach Williams made and apologize to him and everyone who loves Carolina basketball for putting him in that position. I promise to do my best in practice to make my teammates better and will work hard to try and regain my position on the team for next season .”
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