- Robbi Pickeral, College Basketball
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina freshman forward Joel James will not play at No. 2 Duke on Wednesday because of a concussion, coach Roy Williams said Tuesday.
“We found out basically just yesterday that evidently Joel took a blow to the head in the Wake Forest game, and has been having pretty severe headaches,’’ Williams said. “And they did some tests and found out that -- I think I’ll say this right -- that he’s concussed. That means that he’s had a concussion. So he did not practice yesterday, he will not practice today nor play tomorrow.”
James, a reserve, played 15 minutes in that win over Wake last Tuesday, then nine minutes during the Tar Heels’ blowout loss at then-No. 8 Miami on Saturday. A team spokesman said James did not inform the medical staff about his headaches until Monday.
The 6-foot-10, 260-pound widebody is averaging 11.3 minutes and 2.7 points this season, but would have been a key member of the rotation of big guys trying to slow Blue Devils forward Mason Plumlee, who is averaging 18.2 points and 10.7 rebounds, and is a national Player of the Year candidate.
"I feel like throughout this season, we’ve been faced with numerous situations where P.J. [Hairston] was hurt one game or a couple games, Reggie [Bullock] has been out, Marcus [Paige] earlier in the season,'' sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo said. "I think it just really helps [motivate] us internally. To know that there’s one less guy that’s going to be out there fighting with us, it just helps us focus even more."