North Carolina will be short another two players for its Dec. 30 Music City Bowl matchup against Tennessee because of season-ending surgeries.
Tar Heels linebacker Bruce Carter and Tar Heels senior offensive guard Alan Pelc are both out because of injuries, according to a news release issued today by UNC's sports information department.
Carter, who injured his left knee playing against N.C. State on Nov. 20, underwent ACL reconstruction surgery on his left knee this morning at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, the release said.
Pelc underwent surgery Monday afternoon to repair his left shoulder, also at UNC Hospitals. The Houston native is expected to begin rehabilitation immediately, but like Carter, will not be able to play in UNC's bowl game.
Obviously a huge blow to the defense but possibly more so the offensive line which has been spotty this season. With UNC's running game thin and the reliance on T.J. Yates being what it is, having solid offensive line play is a must. Losing Carter hurts in ways you cannot really account for ahead of time. Given his freakish athleticism it could be a key interception or another blocked punt to turn the game around. What sucks even more is Carter and Pelc both are denied one more game with their team to end their careers.
For Carter personally, this is an obvious concern given his potential value in the NFL Draft. This has been described as ACL reconstruction which, if I am not mistaken, is something along the lines of a 4-6 month rehab, maybe longer. Take Brandon Tate for example. He blew out his knee vs Notre Dame midway through the 2008 season and was not activated by the New England Patriots to play until over a year later. Tate suffered another knee injury after two games but has been completely healthy this season. Carter is probably looking at much the same road. It is doubtful he will be ready for the draft combine and any team that picks him will be rolling the dice. Even then it could be an extended period before he sees action in the NFL.
Carter and Pelc have been integral parts of the UNC program over the past four years and to both of them we here at THF offer up a big thanks in appreciation for the way they have represented the University.
On the football field Carter was an absolute freak ending his career with seven blocked punts and the consistent chant of "Bruuuuuuuucccccceeeee" heard across Kenan Stadium any time the opposing team lined up to kick a FG or puntl. I don't know how Carter did it but his presence in close proximity to the punter was almost a given on every punt he contested. In Carter's honor I leave you with his pick six vs Rutgers in 2008.