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Strickland Out For the Season With Torn ACL

<Insert string of profane words here>

UNC announced that junior wing guard Dexter Strickland suffered a torn ACL in his knee during the Virginia Tech game on Thursday night and would miss the rest of the season. Strickland will require surgery to repair the knee and joins fellow junior Leslie McDonald on the knee rehab circuit.

Obviously this is a huge blow for the Heels who will miss Strickland, especially on the defensive end. Strickland had also honed his offensive game to fit perfectly into this team’s offense hitting opportunistic jumpers and pushing the ball to the basket in transition. In fact, Strickland knee occurred on a transition basket.

Strickland is one of the hardest working guys on the team and the ultimate team guy. Every great UNC team has had that “glue” guy and there is little doubt he will be missed in some measure through the rest of this season.

Thoughts and prayers for Dexter as he goes through surgery and rehab.

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32 comments to Strickland Out For the Season With Torn ACL

  • Tough, tough loss and break for Dexter. He really was having a nice season. I just said this on twitter, but this will now test:

    1. Stillman White
    2. The “creative coaching” and timely substitutions for Roy
    3. The endurance of Marshall
    4. The mental and physical toughness of this team.

    A year ago, this would have derailed this team. If there is any positive, it is a little depth with Bullock (who we’ve been calling for to start since last year), PJ and even Stillman White. I remember a guy affectionately known as “Q” that exceeded the fans expectations when called upon too. Let’s hope it can happen again.

    Get well soon Dex. You will sincerely be missed by this team.

  • chapelhillfan

    Horrible news for Strick. Just awful.

    From a team standpoint, I fear this seriously hurts this team.

  • Silent Sam

    Stillman White is not even close to being ready for “prime time”. I, of course, hope I’m wrong.

  • BeachHeel

    We will certainly miss Dex. As this team struggles to find it’s toughness and intensity, Dex was the leader in that category. This is a major blow to the team, but the rest of the team will have to step it up now. Kendall is going to have to become one with his second wind, and Reggie is going to have to step his defense a notch higher.

  • BeachHeel

    My thoughts and prayers are for a successful surgery and recovery for Dex and for him to come back next year at 100 percent. By all accounts, he is a great young man.

  • LarryS

    That’s terrible. This will certainly have an impact, but it is fortunate that the Heels have quality depth at the 2 position.

    I thought it was very ironic that McDonald was one of the ones helping Strickland off the court last night, and Reggie, who had knee problems last year, will be the one to replace his starting position.

  • UNCmonkey

    Tough break for Dex. Hate it for him and wish him all the best - hope for a speedy recovery - can’t wait to see him and McDonald back on the court running the break or popping 3′s. Heal well guys! We need you back - Carolina family 100% behind you!

  • Babyblue2000

    First off- good luck to Dex. Hopefully, he has a successful surgery and speedy recovery. Second, our backs are against the wall now. Strickland was the most overlooked starter and we will now see how valuable he was to the team. Marshall will have to play more minutes at the point now and hopefully White can spell Marshall for at least 5 minutes a game like Q did with Felton back in 05. Bullock will have to step up to replace Dex. I’ve been impressed with his defense lately but he will have to bring it every night. And PJ will have to step up his game because now he will be our only offense coming off the bench. I’m sure Watts will also get a few more minutes too. We will see how we face this adversity and see if we start locking down on D.

  • partsman5521

    Hard to fathom. Fill so bad for Strick. I quess it’s the worst time of season to have this kind of injury. If he’s out a year,comes back this same time next year, wouldn’t it be hard for him to come back midseason and be effective? Seems like he might could miss a year and a half. We (me included) are about to find out how much he meant to this team……

  • The problem with attempting to play lock-down D now is foul issues. I am curious what the most thin team is to make an Elite 8 run in the ACC has been in the past, say, 20 years. Can a serious 7 man rotation get the job done?

    Dexter Strickland is such a likeable person. I don’t know him personally, for obvious reasons, but he comes across as a great kid. He also appears to get along with every member of this team. Fortunately for us, I can see him being a good mentor, cheerleader for this team, and helping in any way he can.

    For those that have clamored for Bullock to start, I have no issue with that b/c most thought even if Bullock did start, he’d be getting a decent reprieve from Strick off the bench. Now we don’t have him at all on the court.

    Yeah, I am fearful. THF, please say you can recall some thin ACC teams getting deep in the tournament.

  • He should be ready by next fall. Bobby Frasor’s rehab took seven months. Leslie McDonald’s has been less than that. It all comes down to the severity of the injury and the progress of rehab but we are roughly ten months from the open of practice for the 2012-13 season so it should be fine.

  • JBowling,

    2005 was this thin.

  • LarryS

    “Can a serious 7 man rotation get the job done?”

    Well, 7-man rotations have not been uncommon for high-level teams in the past. The first thing that comes to my is how much of a compromise will be made for the up-tempo game Roy prefers , which depends on depth. As THF mentioned, the 2005 team wasn’t real deep, but I think they had 8 players with 16 MPG minimum.

    Marshall averaged 35 MPG in the 16 games he played after Drew left last year, so this won’t be new for him, if not necessarily desirable. How much rest he gets will depend soley on White’s ability .

  • ^^^^2005 was an 8-man rotation, with no real back PG, just like this team (if we assume Watts sees some more minutes). And the 2006 and 2007 Florida teams were legit 7-man rotations.

  • I guess Im just trying to find some optimism for the NCAA outlook in spite of losing Dexter. Bullock, Hairston, and LMac, although not available, are guys that can do a lot of things, but be a primary distributor and protector of the ball, they are not.

  • rathskellar68

    We’ll have to live with White for 4-6 minutes a game, during which time we should slow down the offense to try to reduce the number of turnovers. On defense — pray for rain.

    Can Hairston handle the ball at all?

  • Dude

    Several thoughts:
    -i feel terrible for dexter. His tweet from earlier was first class
    -stilman has 1 L
    -after a Hopslam and some pondering i propose Leslie come back to be used in an offensive lineup that capitalizes on our bounty of 2 guards. Marshall, McDonald, Bullock, Hairston and designated rebounder Henson. Code name: “tommy want wingy”

  • gso_tarheel

    Now that I’ve verbally gotten out my profanities I can write something more thoughtful.

    The Bad: We were not the quickest team with Dex and now we lose our quickest player. Our ability to guard quick, slashing guards was often suspect with Dex on the team and now we lose our best perimeter defender. KM is THE one and only PG…Stillman White is not ready.

    The Good?: Scorers (PJ and Bullock) will get more minutes. Reality should now be clear to this team - that is, final fours and championships are elusive. Media expectations are lessened. They learn to play every game like it could be their last?

    From my viewpoint, almost all the Good(?) is the possible mental/team rallying aspect of this loss. If they use it appropriately, it may actually help this team more than hurt. And the way things have been so unexpected and hard to predict with this team, them making a final four/NC run now would make perfect sense. The intrigue just went up another level…

  • LarryS

    The bottom line is, Marshall has been averaging around 34 MPG in conference play and Strickland around 23-24 MPG, which is 6 MPG at the 1 and 17-18 MPG at the 2.

    So that’s 17-18 MPG that will be required to fill in at the 2 between Bullock & Hairston. (Will Watts play any at 2?).

  • 52bgJ

    disappointing as all heck but who didn’t suspect that outcome that saw it on the replay?

    it does make the question of a potential McDonald comeback interesting. “tommy want wingy” is an enticing fantasy.

  • gso_tarheel

    ^^Hopefully they score more and make up for the probable drop in defense. Of course, best case scenario is Bullock, who has been defending well and has more height than Strickland, can keep up the perimeter defense and increase scoring. The real issue is no backup PG. I felt comfortable with Dex handling. With Stillman, not so much. But we shall see.

  • Heel in Purple

    “2005 was an 8-man rotation, with no real back PG, just like this team (if we assume Watts sees some more minutes). And the 2006 and 2007 Florida teams were legit 7-man rotations.”

    I’d like to contend one or two points.
    Melvin Scott had experience as a starting point guard for UNC (albeit the nightmare season) and could fall back on that experience. He was also a top recruit coming into UNC. Stilman White is a mid-major prospect picked up this summer for situations like this. He also has no experience whatsoever.

    Also, with the exception of Bullock (who is now starting I presume), our bench has been inconsistent with it’s production. Jury is still out on McAdoo and I have pointed out PJ’s flaws on a few occassions. In 05 you had Marvin who was the National Freshman of the Year and David Noel, both of whom you could count on to show up and produce.

  • gso_tarheel

    ^Not to mention, in 2005 Ray Felton was a scoring point guard. All things considered, 2005 would beat 2012 7-8 out of 10 times.

  • chapelhillfan

    If not more.

  • LarryS

    C’mon, enough of the 2005-2012 comparisons. I don’t think anyone’s really talking about the qualitative similarities of these teams.

    I do see UNC, now, as an 8-man rotation more or less in name only, in contrast to a solid, 12-15 MPG minimum bench. They’ll give Watts more time, and I hope he does well, but things do drop off fast after the top 7.

    White will basically mark time, and try not to turn it over or give up points, until Marshall catches a breather. I’m rooting for him as well.

    And as important as it now is for everyone to step up, I’m afraid, fair or unfair, the main focus will be on Bullock and Hairston. They’re a couple of tough young men though, and I’m sure they’ll give it all they’ve got.

  • partsman5521

    This team has a track record of turning things around in time of adversity…..

  • faustus1500

    Hey THF,

    Was Bobby Frasor the glue guy in 2009? He is the only guy I could think of…..Too bad he doesn’t have eligibility left. I would guess you were referring to Danny Green, but I think Bullock can be that role.

  • AZACCFan

    No more back problems for Marshall.

    That is really sad for Strickland. Two really explosive guards lost to ACL injuries. It doesn’t seem fair.

    When Zeller was lying on the floor at FSU, it brought this to mind. None of these guys are replaceable.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    I feel terrible for Strickland. He works so hard and has such a good attitude, and he had really improved his game this year. This is just such a shame.

    As far as backup PG… well, obviously we don’t really have one that is ready to come in and run the normal offense. I’d like to see Barnes step up to the point that when White is in there his only responsibility is to safely get the ball past midcourt and then give it to Barnes and let him do some NBA style one on one until Marshall gets back in the game.

  • scl11

    Sux, best wishes on a speedy recovery Dex

  • tanstrutz

    Tough break for Dex and the rest of the team. Does anyone think this changes the possibility of L-Mac coming back this season? I know Roy wanted to save his year of eligibility, but we could really use some depth on the bench with Bullock moving to the starting position. I wonder if this will change Roy’s thinking on the subject at all.

  • BeachHeel

    “Our ability to guard quick, slashing guards was often suspect with Dex on the team and now we lose our best perimeter defender.”

    I know it is not in Roy’s vocabulary, but it seems that at least against teams with really quick guards a bit of z-z-z-zone defense might actually be called for. At least for stretches. We have the length to be really effective at it. What are the chances?

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