Alternate headline: The Free LMac Crowd Is Never Going To Shut Up Now
Before I get into this new piece of information from Roy Williams' press conference today let me just say that any discussion of Leslie McDonald starting over Dexter Strickland is pointless. I know it. You know it. Heck, my 21 month old son knows it and he can't read. Knowing what we know about Roy Williams should tell us that if he is loath to make a lineup change in the middle of the season then there is no way in Hades he is making one on the eve of the NCAA Tournament. If Strickland's knee does not hold up then his hand will be forced which is another dead horse altogether. For now, Strickland is playing and will start at SG so as my wife is fond of saying, "Build a bridge and get over it."
UNC coach Roy Williams revealed today that Strickland, a sophomore, injured his knee when he ran into a photographer on the baseline during his team’s 89-69 victory over Florida State on Feb. 6. Doctors told the player they could operate and he could perhaps miss the rest of the season, or he could play through the pain without doing further damage.
Strickland, who was not available for comment Wednesday, opted to play. He had surgery on his left knee in high school
"That kid, he’s fighting a lot of things right now,’’ Williams said. "And a lot of people are saying, ‘Dexter’s not doing anything’. Dexter’s doing a lot more than most people would, because most people wouldn’t even be playing. He decided, ‘No, coach, I want to play. I’ll fight through it.’ He was the defensive player of the game [Friday vs. Miami in the ACC tournament], and he’s done so many good things. Now, is he play all-ACC caliber play the last six weeks? No, I’m not saying that. But that young man has been going through some tough things."
I find it interesting this was never mentioned before and only now comes out because Roy Williams felt the need to defend his player from criticism. Kudos to Strickland for playing through an injury and showing some toughness when his team needed him. Of course the fact Strickland has a knee injury is probably news to Miles Plumlee and Kyle Singler.
I just hope the knee was not further damaged when it brushed against Singler's shoulder since it was obviously hard enough to knock a 6-8 player to the ground. /sarcasm.