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Williams misses news conference to receive five stitches

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Top-ranked North Carolina Tarheels hasn't
encountered much danger on the court this season. But the Tar
Heels' Hall of Fame coach is apparently having trouble navigating
around his cluttered office these days.

Roy Williams cut his scalp and needed five stitches Friday when
he tripped over a cord in his office and hit his head on a door,
giving the Tar Heels a bumpy start to their final day of practice
for Saturday's game against rival North Carolina State.

Williams was on his feet unaided immediately after the accident,
though he was unable to attend an afternoon news conference or
appear on ESPN Radio for a scheduled interview. He showed for
practice later in the afternoon sporting a USA Basketball cap.

Williams was in good spirits and chuckled at his fall, jokingly
claiming that he needed 36 stitches. He said he was stepping over a
table when his foot got tangled in a cord for a VCR remote control
in an office containing about two dozen basketballs for him to
autograph.

"The office is too small for all that dadgum memorabilia," he
said.

In an odd twist, it marks the second straight time a coach's
health became an issue as the rivals met in the Smith Center. Last
year, Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe -- sick from flu-like symptoms
leading up to the game -- was taken to a hospital because of
dehydration and missed the second half of an 83-64 loss.

Because it was quickly apparent that Williams was OK, his fall
had taken on a humorous tone by the time All-American Tyler Hansbrough spoke with reporters before practice. When asked whether
he had ever seen a remote control that still required a cord,
Hansbrough said, "I wouldn't mess with Coach like that."

North Carolina (16-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is off to
its best start since the 1997-98 team won its first 17 games. The
Tar Heels have been atop The Associated Press Top 25 poll for 10
weeks, their longest stretch since the 1985-86 team spent 13 weeks
there and started 21-0.

N.C. State (11-3) has won seven straight games since a stunning
loss to East Carolina on Dec. 8, though the Wolfpack could be
without starting guard Courtney Fells and reserve forward Dennis
Horner, who each have sprained ankles. N.C. State already lost
starting point guard Farnold Degand (knee) for the rest of the
season, leaving the Wolfpack shorthanded against a North Carolina
team that likes to run from start to finish.

In addition, N.C. State hasn't looked sharp in recent
wins against Western Carolina and a pair of teams -- Presbyterian
and North Carolina Central -- that each had just one victory when
they met.

"As a coach, I can't look at that and say, 'We struggled
against these guys so we're going to struggle (against UNC),"
Lowe said. "I have to think that, 'You know what? We did what we
had to do to win the game.' And now we're in a situation where
we're going to have to do whatever we can to win the game."