All of the injury related news pertains to the offensive line and whether LG Jonathan Cooper and C Lowell Dyer will be ready for this weekend. As of Tuesday it appears Cooper might be available but in all likelihood Dyer will not. Dyer, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, hung out with Zack Pianalto on the sideline during practice on Tuesday. Cooper, on the other hand, did practice but there is no word on whether he will play. According to ACC Now, UNC O-line coach Sam Pittman is prepping Cam Holland and Greg Elleby to start versus ECU.
As for Pianalto, swelling around the foot has prevented further evaluation of his subtalar dislocation. Feel free to add subtalar dislocation to the list of freak Tar Heel injuries right alongside Ty Lawson's big toe and his high ankle sprain from 2008 or T.J. Yates' hand injury playing ultimate frisbee.
Obviously these injuries are huge but as J.P. Giglio points out, UNC has some options starting with the return of Bobby Rome.
The return of fullback Bobby Rome should also bolster the running game, which produced a meager 35 yards on 38 attempts against UConn. Rome missed the game with symptoms of the H1N1 virus. On Tuesday, the senior returned to practice, as did reserve defensive tackle Jordan Nix, who also missed the UConn trip with the flu.
Junior tight end Ed Barham, who is considered a better blocker than Pianalto, could also help the running game against the Pirates, who gave up 175 yards in a 35-20 loss at West Virginia last Saturday.
If Barham and Rome can help with the blocking, it should open up the running game. Also, one would expect Holland and Elleby to both improve on last week's performance.
One conspicuously absent reference in all of this is WR Dwight Jones who is still rehabbing a injured knee. There has been some talk of Jones being ready for ECU but so far the focus has been on Pianalto and the offensive line.
UPDATE: UNC has updated the status of both Lowell Dyer and Zack Pianalto saying both will be out 3-4 weeks.