Hansbrough out of practice indefinitely with stress reaction condition

Updated: August 6, 2009, 3:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough is out of practice indefinitely with a stress reaction condition in his right shin.

The reigning Associated Press player of the year did not practice Thursday. Instead, he underwent an MRI that revealed the stress reaction, which if not properly treated could lead to a stress fracture, team spokesman Steve Kirschner said.

"He'll be ok," Hansbrough's father, Gene, told ESPN.com's Andy Katz. "His leg's been bothering him for a couple of weeks. It's a stress reaction and he needs to rest a bit. He just needs time to let it heal. There is no reason for him to limp through it."

According to ESPN medical analysist Dr. Michael Kaplan, the MRI likely showed increased uptake in tibia (leg bone) suggesting a stress reaction. An overload or overuse type phenomenon occurs with inflammation and, ultimately, fatigue failure with stress fracture. This is a precursor condition to stress fracture. A period of rest is mandatory for tissues to quiet down or worsening injury will result.

The school issued a statement saying there is no timetable for his return and no further information on the injury was available. Coach Roy Williams said he would have no comment until Friday after he meets with Hansbrough and the medical staff.

"I expect he'll be healthy and play [this season]," Gene Hansbrough said. "It's still too early to tell. They don't even have an exhibition for a week."

Hansbrough played in all 108 games during his previous three seasons at North Carolina, and has two weeks to heal before the Nov. 15 season opener against Pennsylvania if he is to keep that streak intact.

"He understands the big picture," Gene Hansbrough said. "He knows he has to get well and be 100 percent to help the team."

Gene Hansbrough told Katz that his son's shin started to bother him a couple of weeks ago.

"But it got worse. It doesn't hurt when he walks on it. I just hope he recovers soon," Gene Hansbrough said.

He is the first AP player of the year to return to school since LSU's Shaquille O'Neal in 1991, and probably the biggest name to skip the draft and play a fourth season in college since Tim Duncan returned to Wake Forest a decade ago.

Hansbrough averaged 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds last season in leading North Carolina to a school-record 36 wins, its second straight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title and its first Final Four since 2005.

He begins his senior season 122 points behind Phil Ford's 30-year-old school scoring record of 2,290 points, and is within reach of the ACC's scoring record of 2,769 set by Duke's J.J. Redick in 2006.

North Carolina has a very difficult early season schedule that includes hosting Kentucky on Nov. 18, playing in the Maui Invitation Nov. 23-25, which includes highly ranked Texas and Notre Dame, and a showdown with top 10 Michigan State in Detroit at the Final Four site of Ford Field in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 3.

Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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