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More Toe News

If you can stand it.

Ladies and gentlemen, team physician Dr. Tim Taft:

Dr. Tim Taft, the team's orthopedic surgeon and UNC's director of sports medicine, said Tuesday that when Lawson returns, he probably will go without another local anesthetic shot. Taft said doctors typically use such shots on injuries "that are painful, but not serious, in medical terms," which is how he classified Lawson's toe injury.

"Philosophically, I am somebody who does not like a lot of injections," Taft said. "I've been taking care of teams here for 40 years, and we've injected someone for pain maybe three times."

Taft said the injury -- which was exacerbated by a previously healed fracture -- is similar to "turf toe," which he defined simply as a sore toe.

Asked if Lawson would return to 100 percent, Taft said: "Eventually, yes. This shouldn't cause any long-term problems."

However, when asked if Lawson could return to complete health in the next three weeks -- the span of the NCAA Tournament -- he was less specific.

"That's kind of like asking, 'How deep is a hole?' " Taft said. "Well, when is it going to rain next, and how long does it take for the water to drain out?"

Taft said the medical staff is doing many things to get Lawson healthy and back on the court, including applying anesthetic creams, dispensing oral painkillers, and taping and icing the toe.

Roy Williams is obviously getting antsy over the incessant questions concerning Lawson's toe.  The same problem arose last season with Lawson's ankle to the point UNC started releasing injury reports. The media, of course, is simply doing their job and Roy has to deal with privacy concerns when answering such questions as well as the fact he is tired of answering them period.  So what does Steve Kirschner do? He trots out the team doctor and has him discuss the injury at length in hopes that will placate the reporters when Roy addresses the media today in Greensboro.

Not bloody likely, but I for one appreciate the information. Apparently, Taft is not a fan of injections to kill pain.  If I had to hazard a guess on this it is probably because pain is the body's way of telling you whatever is happening is a bad thing.  For example.  I have taken the splint off my finger but it is still stiff.  I am supposed to gently bend it but not make a full fist yet.  If I try to, there is a point where I get pain in the finger and cannot go further.  The pain is keeping me from re-injuring the finger by bending it too far.  The same is true here.  The pain keeps Lawson from doing more than he should on the toe.  That is why it was swollen after the Duke game so badly because he basically did things he should not have done on the toe but the fact it was numbed allowed him to do it anyway.  The problem is the Heels need Lawson doing all sorts of unholy things to his toe in order to win a national title. All that being said, if UNC gets to that national title game and Lawson needs to toe numbed to play, I will today's Google Ad earnings he is getting an injection in the toe.

Taft was more cryptic with the prognosis because, well, he is a doctor and that is how they roll. I do think we are not talking about any damage to any ligaments or tendons in the toe but that it is more or less really inflamed from this injury in combination with a previously healed fracture. In that respect, there is no risk to the toe per se but if Lawson plays on it and it swells up again then you have a problem. For now it is wait and see.  At least Wayne Ellington is keeping things loose.