Marshall injury stirs memories of 1984 at UNC

By Aaron Beard

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 22 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Like Smith, Marshall was hurt when he was fouled and knocked to the court on a second-half drive.

The fractures for both players were to their non-shooting hands. Smith — who had a similar surgery to Marshall after that season — said Marshall's pass-first style could make it easier to contribute if he's healthy enough to return.

"I think he is such a great facilitator, a superior facilitator to anyone in college basketball today," Smith said. "He's a guy who could play a game with the injury I had and still be super effective. I don't think I could've been super effective. ... I think he'd be OK because part of his repertoire is being able to score, but Kendall can go games and get six points and be the most dominant player on the court."

In a text message to the AP on Wednesday, Marshall's father Dennis said his son was "doing well" and "in good spirits." He said it was still too early to say whether Marshall could play in St. Louis, noting he "hasn't been ruled out, but not cleared to play either."

Kendall Marshall said on Twitter that his cast has been removed, and his father said he's now wearing a removable splint. However, if he's out, freshman Stilman White and versatile senior Justin Watts would play the point.

"Everybody goes out there and we play, and we just depend on each other," Barnes said. "I have confidence in John that he'll be able to step up. He has confidence in Stilman that Stilman will be able to step up. We have confidence in Justin Watts.

"We feel like we can still get it done."

Smith said Marshall's injury isn't crippling, that the team's frontcourt trio could be enough to keep the Tar Heels advancing in a season that has at most four games left.

If they can't, it will be another bad break for a UNC team that had the chance to be special.

"You just have to be good and you have to be lucky," Guthridge said. "We could just never get the chemistry right (after Smith's return). If we would've played another game and got everybody's role good, I think we could've won the national championship. But we didn't."

AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Chapel Hill, N.C., contributed to this report.

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