Yes. I feel well, but I don't want to get overly excited and hear some bad news that I have to wait two more weeks. I'm just trying to keep it all in perspective. He may tell me that I'm fine and ready to go, or he may tell me that it's not healed and I have to wait a couple more weeks.
How does it feel -- what kind of sensations do you have?
It feels great. Where I broke it there is no pain. There is a little pain, but, from what I understand, it's where the end of the screw is hitting one of my tendons. It's not too bad. It's just like having a sore that's always hurting. They said that they may be do something about that where I won't feel any pain at all.
Will the screw come out or stay in?
I'm going to talk to Dr. Taft after the game, but they said that, maybe in the offseason, during the summer, they can take the screw out, but I'll be out (of action) for another six weeks. It won't do any damage, but it might need to happen.
On Friday, if the doctor says that you are ready to go, does that mean that we might see you in action this weekend, if your conditioning will allow it?
From what I understand, the earliest that I might play is a few minutes in the [N.C.] A&T game. Then maybe a few minutes in the Maryland game. I'm only going to play a few minutes each half -- six, seven, eight minutes -- just to see how my foot is doing. If I'm doing fine I guess we can add more minutes.
Where do your parents factor in this decision?
My mother, she's fine as long as I feel fine. She's just taking a back seat and just tries to encourage me. My dad is going to fly down tomorrow and go to my doctor's appointment with me. His big concern is not to get out there and not be able to play at the same level that I was before. He just wants to make sure that I'm in no pain. The big thing with him is that Dr. Taft has to tell him that the bone is rock solid and nothing will happen.
He has a lot of concerns and questions. Dr. Taft just has to talk to him, and once I find out when I can come back it will be easier for him. As of right now, he's kind of wishing that maybe I shouldn't come back because he is 600 miles away and he really doesn't know what is going on.
How is your conditioning?
When I stopped playing, I was around 270 (pounds). Right now, I'm about 269 or 270. My body has dropped from 17 percent to 14 percent. I'm a lot better physically, with my body, but I don't know about basketball shape. I haven't run in a month and a half. I've been running in the tank, but it's not the same as on the court. In a couple of weeks I should be fine, but only time will tell.
Do you remember when it first started hurting?
It was right at the end of the Kentucky game. I was running down the court, and I think someone stepped on it. That next day in practice is when I really felt it. Then Byron stepped on it again. It had been bothering me for a while. I had it checked out, and there were no signs of anything. They just said I had a sore foot, and it didn't get better.
Then, the night before the Iona game, Dr. Taft looked at it because I was in a lot of pain. The best thing, they said, was for it to go ahead and break. Some may say maybe not, but I think it was possibly the best thing for me to do.
Do you remember a spot in one particular game sitting on the bench where you really wanted to help?
Duke. That Duke game was brutal. All the games I wish I could have played, but I had never been to Duke, I had never been in that atmosphere. As soon as tip-off hit, I was grabbing Coach McKinney like "Man, I want to play. Broke foot and all, I'm about to go put on my jersey."
But, it's just having passion for the game. That's one of the greatest rivalries in the country. For me to sit there was tough. I told everybody after the game, "I'm sorry. I wish I could have been out there with you.
Does this make you appreciate the game of basketball more?
Oh, yeah. I told somebody the other day, "I'm not perfect. Maybe, sometimes, I took the game for granted." Every day I didn't work hard. Every day I didn't work out to the best of my ability. This last month and a half has made me think a lot about the game and how much it means to me. It's tough sitting over there on the sidelines, watching your team go out there and battle. There is nothing like playing basketball, and this has made a big impact on my life, sitting here. I can't wait to get back out there. I appreciate the game so much now. I think I took it for granted before.
Are you still glad that you came to UNC?
Oh, yes. It was the best decision I could have ever made. The people in Chapel Hill are great. The fans at Carolina are great. I love Carolina and just wearing this jersey. You can't go to any other school and say, "I have a Carolina jersey on." It means more than at any other school in this country. It's the best decision I ever made.