- Robbi Pickeral, College Basketball
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Roy Williams said he is “concerned” about forward James Michael McAdoo, who sat out a shortened shooting-only practice Thursday because of a sore back.
But prior to practice on Friday, the sophomore starter said his lingering back issues won’t impact him during Saturday’s regular-season finale against No. 3 Duke: “No, not at all. I can honestly say that.”
McAdoo, UNC’s leading scorer and rebounder, confirmed that he was diagnosed this season with a bulging disk in his back, and a hard fall during Wednesday’s victory at Maryland caused it to stiffen up (although he did return to the game).
"You saw, I played in the game, and I was fine,'' he said. "I took a little spill, didn’t feel good. [But] I’m OK, I’m tough."
He said he doesn’t know exactly when his back problems started, but the Tar Heels have limited some of the things he does in practice over the past month, Williams said. And the player has learned to play through the stiffness and twinges.
“It might have happened in high school, and I just played through it to this point,’’ McAdoo said. “… It’s definitely something that I want to eventually get healed, but that will only come with time, and we don’t really have the time right now.”
Indeed, a win against rival Duke on Saturday would mark the Tar Heels' seventh straight victory, and secure the third seed in next week's ACC tournament.
McAdoo said he doesn't think his back will require surgery.