CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina's pursuit of a return to the Final Four is off to a bumpy start.
Senior Marcus Ginyard will miss eight weeks after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot, robbing the Tar Heels of their do-everything swingman who started every game last season.
During surgery Wednesday morning, doctors inserted a screw in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot. Ginyard has had lingering pain in the foot and wore a boot last year at times while playing through what team officials called a stress reaction.
Ginyard sprained his ankle in August, apparently exacerbating the foot injury, team spokesman Steve Kirschner said.
"You hate this for Marcus because he has worked so hard to get ready for his senior season, but he decided it was better to have the surgery now and be ready sometime in December than risk a more substantial injury that would knock him out of action later in the season," coach Roy Williams said in a statement. "We will miss his play on both ends of the floor as well as his leadership with the young players."
The 6-foot-5 Ginyard averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds last year for the Tar Heels, who won a school-record 36 games before losing to eventual champion Kansas in the Final Four.
He played four positions, from backup point guard when starter Ty Lawson went down with an ankle injury to seeing time at power forward during the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship win against Clemson.
He is one of five starters returning for the Tar Heels, including national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough. North Carolina opens the season at home against Penn on Nov. 15.