As a follow-up to the news incoming freshman Marcus Paige has suffered a stress fracture in his left foot and after the injury plagued season we've just seen I thought it would be interesting to catalog games missed due to injury or illness during Roy Williams' tenure in Chapel Hill.
|2004||Jackie Manuel||Sprained ankle||2|
|2004||Sean May||Sprained ankle||1|
|2005||Rashad McCants||Stomach ailment||4|
|2005||Marvin Williams||Sprained toe||1|
|2006||Quentin Thomas||Stress fracture left foot||3|
|2007||Bobby Frasor||Foot injury||10|
|2007||Quentin Thomas||Stress fracture left foot||9|
|2007||Marcus Ginyard||Stomach illness||1|
|2007||Brandan Wright||Stomach illness||1|
|2007||Danny Green||Ankle injury||1|
|2008||Bobby Frasor||Torn ACL||27*|
|2008||Ty Lawson||Sprained ankle(twice)||7|
|2009||Marcus Ginyard||Foot injury||35 *|
|2009||Tyler Zeller||Broken wrist||23|
|2009||Tyler Hansbrough||Shin reaction||4|
|2009||Ty Lawson||Toe injury||3|
|2010||Ed Davis||Broken wrist/sprained ankle||14*|
|2010||Tyler Zeller||Foot injury||10|
|2010||David Wear||Hip injury||10*|
|2010||Travis Wear||Sprained ankle||5|
|2010||Marcus Ginyard||Foot injury||4|
|2010||Will Graves||Sprained ankle||1|
|2010||Dexter Strickland||Strained hamstring||1|
|2011||Reggie Bullock||Knee injury||10*|
|2011||Justin Watts||Sprained ankle||3|
|2011||Leslie McDonald||Collapsed lung||1|
|2012||Leslie McDonald||Torn ACL||38*|
|2012||Dexter Strickland||Torn ACL||19*|
|2012||John Henson||Sprained wrist||3|
|2012||Kendall Marshall||Broken wrist||2*|
|2012||P.J. Hairston||Injured foot||1|
*Denotes player could not finish the season due to injury.
At first glance this looks like a lot of injuries until you look at the breakdown. Eleven of them resulted in a player missing only one game. The number of players missing more than five plus games or at least one month of playing time is 12. Over the past nine seasons UNC has seen eight players lost for the season at the time of their injury which includs Kendall Marshall's broken wrist even though it mean he really only missed two games. Looking at the injuries themselves there have been three broken wrists, three torn ACLs, several sprained ankles, a sprained wrist, multiple ambiguous knee/ankle/foot ailments, illnesses, a fluke toe injury, a concussion and a collapsed lung.
The real question is how much of this exceeds what can normally be expected for a college basketball team with UNC's talent and schedule load. My guess is some of this is perfectly normal, especially the minor injuries and illnesses that pop up. Given the nature of basketball sprained ankles can be expected and so can torn ACLs especially considering Purdue's Robbie Hummel tore his ACL in consecutive seasons. For UNC to have three in nine years is probably on the normal side. The broken/sprained wrist however strikes me as unusual and I would lump Henson's injury in with the other three because all game on plays around the basket with the player in question falling awkwardly. Players missing games for two different injuries were: Quentin Thomas, Bobby Frasor, Tyler Zeller, Will Graves, Marcus Ginayrd, Ty Lawson, Ed Davis, Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald. Overall, UNC players have missed a total of 256 games in nine seasons.
The vexing thing for UNC is the fact there were so many injuries piled into a season(2012) that had such high expectations. In fact UNC has seen at least one player in the regular rotation lost for the year in each of the last five seasons. There were three of those injuries in 2012, Reggie Bullock in 2011, David Wear and Ed Davis in 2010, Marcus Ginyard in 2009 and Bobby Frasor in 2008. Prior to that, 2004-2007 were mostly free of major injuries with only Frasor and Quentin Thomas missing more than four games and everyone on the team finishing the season healthy.
Hopefully that means UNC is due for the pendulum to swing back the other direction and Chris Hirth can can enjoy a few mostly stress free seasons.