With just over four minutes to go in the first half the junior guard collapsed in a heap near mid-court, grabbing his right ankle and grimacing in pain. He put very little wait on his right side as he was helped to the locker room and never returned to the bench. The Pack went on to beat North Carolina Central on Wednesday night at the RBC Center by a 54-29 score in a uninspiring game filled with bad shooting, but Fells' status for Saturday's game against No. 1 North Carolina is very much in doubt.
"He sounded really positive so we'll how it goes tomorrow in practice and hopefully he's ready for Saturday," Harris said. "The way he sounded, he doesn't know, but you have to stay positive when you go down. I hope he's ready, he hopes he's ready so we'll see."
Officially diagnosed as a right ankle sprain during halftime, head coach Sidney Lowe sounded less optimistic about the junior's return for the Tar Heels. X-rays taken after the game came back negative.
"We'll have to wait and see," Lowe said. "I'm going to talk to Doc after I leave here. He was on crutches which is not a good sign but we'll find out for sure."
The Pack's (11-3) other injured regular, sophomore Dennis Horner, also remained sidelined on Wednesday. His status for Saturday is also up in the air as he hasn't practiced with the team this week.
"He's resting right now," Lowe said. "We'll see tomorrow how he feels. We are still not sure with Dennis so we'll see tomorrow."
If the injuries weren't enough of a problem, the Pack did little to get excited about during the actual game. Facing a 1-21 NCCU team that's in its first year of Division I basketball, State didn't exactly light up the scoreboard. The shooting woes continued for the Pack all game, as they shot just 16-of-44 (36 percent) and did even worse from behind the arc. After going 0-for-10 in the first half, the Pack rebounded slightly to finish 4-for-21. Brandon Costner led the team with 18 points and J.J. Hickson was the only other Pack player in double figures with 13 points and eight rebounds.
"Our guys had to step in and try to make some shots and they didn't," Lowe said. "But thank God our defense was solid and we won the ball game."
The defense created the 25-point margin by forcing the Eagles to shoot an atrocious 12-for-59 (20 percent) from the field and just 1-for-14 (7 percent) from behind the arc. Lowe said that the shots will come around for this team and that despite the poor scoring effort he's isn't worried about the points.
"I'm not concerned at all," Lowe said. "When you are playing against teams that run zones and teams that are running the clock. I might be concerned that we were 4-for-21 [from behind the arc], but I'm not concerned at the amount of points we scored."
With the non-conference schedule over and its biggest rival right around the corner, Lowe seemed ready to turn the page on the Pack's last few weeks.
"It's a different season now," Lowe said. "It's a new season."