Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

UNC PG Joel Berry's Ankle 'Very Close' to 100%

North Carolina's starting point guard has returned to practice participation.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A week removed from an ankle injury, Joel Berry is confident in his health heading into North Carolina's Sweet 16 game against Butler on Friday.

“I went up and down [in practice]," Berry said during Thursday afternoon's media session. "I’m not worried about it. I feel pretty good. I’m confident about it. I was just glad to be back there because the last couple of days have been a little boring, just sitting on the sidelines and watching, so I was glad I was able to get back out there and it felt pretty good going up and down."

The second-team All-ACC point guard sprained his right ankle when he landed on a defender’s foot in UNC's NCAA Tournament opener last Friday.

"I feel a lot better," he said. "I’ve been doing a lot of rehabbing, two sessions a day. I just want to be able to get back to that 100 percent. I’m very close to it. I still have a little bruising around my ankle bone, but that’s expected. Once that goes away, I’ll be back to 100 percent.”

Berry averaged 13.0 points and 3.0 assists in his first two NCAA Tournament games, but was clearly limited by the injury, shooting 3-for-21 from the field and making no two-point attempts (0-7).

"I do think he looks better," Roy Williams said on Thursday afternoon. "He's still not Joel, yet, and someway, somehow, between now and game time tomorrow, he's got to get to be the Joel Berry that we've seen all year and that's played great for us."


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