UPDATE #5: UNC officially announced that Tyler Zeller had suffered a broken wrist from his fall under the basket against Kentucky. Zeller was admitted to UNC hospitals today and had successful surgery on his left wrist. The injury is likely to be season ending with the timeframe for recovery by his doctors is 12-16 weeks. That being said if he recovers quickly he could be available by mid-February. Even if he takes the full 16 weeks he might be available by the ACC Tournament. The question would be whether Roy wants to use Zeller and waste the year on what could end up being 11 games at most. There is also an element of meshing him into the team at that point which may not work. Still if he is available it does not hurt to have more depth at that point in the season.
As for Zeller, this really sucks. He was playing well despite the quiet stat line last night. He also would have benefited tremendously from playing alongside the other Tyler and I was quite looking forward to see those two on the court together. As it is he will watch and learn but hopefully be ready to go next season if he ends up sitting the rest of this one out.
Original post and updates after the jump.
UPDATE #4: Okay, now we have Gary Parrish quoting Zeller's brother Luke, who plays for Notre Dame, saying that they were looking for a surgeon and he was likely out for the season. Apparently Tyler thought he could splint it and since it was his left hand he'd be fine. Still waiting on official word from UNC which could be late tonight since I doubt they release information without talking to Roy first and he will be in transit to CA this evening.
This really sucks for Tyler Zeller on so many levels. You hate to see an injury especially one at a meaningless point in the game via a foul that probably should not have been committed. Also add to this the fact Tyler was probably looking forward to being in Maui and playing against his brother Luke if UNC met Notre Dame in the championship game of the tournament. Now he is going to be stuck in Chapel Hill, possibly having surgery on the wrist and missing what usually is a bonding trip for the team.
UPDATE #3: ESPN's Andy Katz says UNC is still evaluating the injury calling it "serious" and that Zeller is out indefinitely.
North Carolina freshman forward Tyler Zeller suffered a "serious injury" to his left hand and wrist on a dunk attempt late in Tuesday night's win over Kentucky, an injury that will keep him out of the Tar Heels' lineup for the foreseeable future.
North Carolina spokesman Steve Kirschner said the school would have more information on the injury once team doctors examined Zeller later Wednesday afternoon in Chapel Hill. Kirschner said that Zeller would not likely join the team on its Wednesday evening flight to Santa Barbara, Calif., for its game against UC-Santa Barbara on Friday night, or the team's three games next week at the Maui Invitational in Hawaii.
I am purely guessing but they are probably trying to decide if it needs surgery or not. If it does he is done for the season. If is a break that can heal in a cast and then get rehab he may yet play again this season. If it takes 8-12 weeks for it to heal assuming there is no surgery, that is, at worst mid-February. Also, this is not his shooting hand which means he could probably get by with his off hand not being at full strength such as when he is playing defense which may end up being his greater value.
UPDATE #2: Jeff Goodman is reporting Tyler Zeller is out for the season with a broken left wrist.
UPDATE: No official word yet but the rumor is the wrist is broken and Zeller is probably out for the season. Please proceed with your favorite method of venting at this time.
In case you missed it, Tyler Zeller was fouled hard on a breakaway dunk attempt with 1:26 remaining in the game and landed on his left wrist. Zeller was in obvious pain and taken immediately to the locker room. Based on the way Roy addressed it and other comments from Woody Durham on the radio the wrist is believed to be broken. Zeller was taken to UNC hospitals for X-rays to see if that is the case or not. We will wait and see what news comes from that.
Also, let's go ahead and get this out of the way now because someone will be stupid enough ask why Zeller was still in the game. The answer is all the starters were still in save Deon Thompson who fouled out. Also, with Tyler Hansbrough and Mike Copeland out plus Thompson's foul issue, Ed Davis and Zeller were the only true big men UNC had available. Plus he is a freshman and could use the playing time.