Armando Bacot Dressing Sunday vs. Virginia; Will Attempt to Warm-Up and Play

Brant Wilkerson-New

North Carolina might be the recipient of an early Christmas miracle on Sunday.

Originally projected to miss several weeks with a sprained left ankle, freshman big man Armando Bacot is dressed and plans to warm up and attempt to play as the Tar Heels meet Virginia, according to a spokesman.

His availability will be decided after warm-ups based on his comfort and approval from doctors.

As of Friday, Roy Williams saw little chance Bacot could play on Sunday, but there was some optimism after X-Rays came back negative.

"He is walking, he’s not on crutches," Roy Williams said. "It ballooned up; it was big. I just don’t see any way in the world he can play."

Bacot suffered the injury after tipping in a shot on an offensive rebound at the 12:48 mark of the first half of Carolina's loss to Ohio State, Bacot's left foot landed on top of that of a Buckeye defender and the freshman big man immediately went to the ground in obvious pain.

At the time of the injury, Bacot had two points and four rebounds in seven minutes, hitting 1 of his 2 field goal attempts. He also managed a block and steal before being helped off the floor, unable to put any weight on his left leg.

The return of Bacot, who's averaging 10.5 points and 8.9 rebounds, would be a major boost for Carolina’s struggling offense.

Reserves Brandon Huffman and Walker Miller both stepped into the lineup briefly on Wednesday, but it will largely fall on Justin Pierce to play the power forward spot alongside Garrison Brooks if Bacot is unavailable. 

"We don’t have any options," Williams said."It’s Justin, but we don’t have any options."