CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – For weeks, Theo Pinson and the UNC basketball staff had circled Dec. 7 as the next checkpoint in his recovery after fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during preseason practice. The X-ray scheduled for Wednesday – six weeks post-surgery - has since been moved up, indicating his progress is ahead of schedule.
“I get an X-ray tomorrow,” Pinson said following UNC’s 95-50 win over Radford on Sunday. “Rehab’s been going so well they wanted to see how it looked and get an X-ray. It was scheduled for Wednesday – two days isn’t going to make much of a difference – but we’ll see. Tomorrow’s a big day for me.”
UNC announced that Pinson had broken his foot in mid-October, although the junior wing told reporters he wasn’t sure how the break occurred. Dr. Robert Anderson, who also repaired Pinson’s left foot in May 2015, performed the surgery at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte on Oct. 26.
Pinson said he could have kept playing with the stress fracture, although his doctor believed it would continue to deteriorate. Given the success of his previous surgery 18 months ago, they decided to move forward with the surgery and insert a screw.
The Greensboro, N.C. native described the fracture as “totally different” than when he suffered the same injury in his left foot at Wake Forest in January 2015. He was immediately able to walk around with minimal pain and even had fellow students on campus asking him in the days after the injury if he had actually broken his foot.
There was pain during certain movements on the court, however, which prompted the surgery decision. Roy Williams initially provided a recovery timeline of 8-of-12 weeks with an expressed hope that the actual duration would be on the short end. Eight weeks from surgery is Dec. 21.
Pinson stopped wearing his boot once UNC arrived in Honolulu on Nov. 16, and there is no more pain in his foot during workouts. He has spent his rehab time working on ball handling, doing cardio work on the bike and shooting without leaving his toes.
“[It’s] just knowing your limits,” Pinson said. “I’ve done this too many times. I know when I’m pushing it too much and when I need to slow it down.”
If Monday’s X-rays are positive, the next step is a CT scan, according to Pinson.
Pinson started seven games and played in all 40 contests last season. He averaged 4.5 points in 18.7 minutes per game, while also dishing out 115 assists and leading the team in assists per minute.