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Stepheson back on North Carolina bench after week away

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina sophomore Alex Stepheson
will rejoin the team Monday after missing nearly a week because of
a family illness.

Coach Roy Williams said the 6-foot-9 reserve forward was
expected back at practice Tuesday and should play in Wednesday
night's game against North Carolina-Asheville. Stepheson, a Los
Angeles native, left the team Jan. 2 to return to California and
missed two games.

"It's good [to have him back],'' Williams said. "We need some
other big guys, no question."

Stepheson averages 3.5 points and 4.8 rebounds for the
top-ranked Tar Heels (15-0), and is a key member of Williams'
depleted rotation, backing up Deon Thompson and Tyler Hansbrough.

North Carolina has lost backup guard Bobby Frasor to a
season-ending knee injury, and guard Quentin Thomas played just
eight minutes in a victory at Clemson after missing two games with
an ankle injury.