Carter suffered the injury during the '05 season and missed a game and a half, but it was diagnosed as a sprain at first. It wasn't determined until after basketball season that surgery was needed to remove excess cartilage.
As a quarterback and special teams performer, Carter scored 13 all-purpose touchdowns last season and rang up over 1,500 combined passing and rushing yards.
However in college, Carter will have to adjust to the defensive side of the ball where he has seen limited duty. UNC's preliminary evaluation projects him as a safety at first, with the possibility of developing into an outside linebacker.
"He's super strong, and he has a chance to be a really big man," Smith said. "He's got great hands and really good speed. What makes him so attractive is his talent gives him a lot of options. We could have played him at a lot of positions had he not been so important to us offensively."
Carter is 6-foot-2 and tipping the scales these days at 215 pounds.
The Tar Heels coaches said they want him to enroll at UNC during the second summer session, and Smith said Carter has excelled in class during this semester and expects to qualify.
"He seems to be right on schedule," he said. "He made very good grades in his core (classes). We don't forsee any problems with it."
Whether or not Carter can participate in summer conditioning drills will depend on how well he has recovered from the surgery by then.