Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

UNC's Theo Pinson Moving Forward Past Injury

Theo Pinson showed his lengthy recovery is no longer on his mind.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Theo Pinson admitted to thinking about a lot of things heading into Friday night’s ‘Late Night with Roy’ event.

He thought about all the hard work he and his teammates put in during the summer. He thought about the fans that packed the Smith Center to get their first glimpse of this year’s Tar Heels. He even thought about North Carolina being ranked No. 1 in preseason polls.

The one thing not on his mind may have been the most important – his surgically repaired foot.

“I don’t even think about it really,” the sophomore said. “I just play.”

Pinson showed the athleticism, energy and play-making ability during the Late Night scrimmage that made him a Top 20 prospect coming out of high school.

Not bad for someone who missed all of North Carolina’s summer pickup games and conditioning sessions.

“It’s been a battle,” Pinson said. “Just staying patient, just not trying to rush back and get on the court. Just think about long term. It’s a long season so I want to be healthy throughout the whole season. I feel like I’m doing better every day and today was a good test in front of everybody running around out there, it felt pretty good.”

It wasn’t until just a couple weeks ago that Pinson became a full participant in practice. There, he’s played mostly at the shooting guard spot alongside senior point guard Marcus Paige.

“(I’m bringing) the dirty work,” Pinson said. “Just do what I got to do to win games. That’s what we need. I’m just looking forward to starting the season.”

Last season, Pinson averaged 2.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and in 12.5 minutes per game. This season, Roy Williams needs much more.

“We’re not as deep on the wings as we are up front,” the Tar Heel head coach said. “I think we need Theo to stay healthy. He’s done some good things. He still hasn’t had a complete practice yet, but hopefully that’ll come this week.”

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