Health Team

Swift surgery makes UNC point guard's return possible

Posted March 19, 2012
Updated March 20, 2012

Just 24 hours after suffering a fracture of his scaphoid bone, Kendall Marshall, point guard for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, was recovering from surgery and contemplating playing again.

Marshall's father said his son would decide later in the week whether to return to the court when his team faces Ohio Friday night in the Sweet Sixteen. And that return is a very real possibility, according to Dr. Wallace Andrew, a hand surgeon with Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic.

Andrew was not the operating surgeon for Marshall's injury, but said he has seen similar wrist fractures at his clinic.

"It would be the same injury that John Henson had except that Henson didn't quite hit hard enough," Andrew said. "And I suspect Marshall had a little rotation with his."

Marshall's teammate John Henson sat out three games – two in the ACC Tournament and one in the NCAA Tournament – with a sprained wrist.

Andrew said Marshall's method of treatment – surgery and the insertion of a self-tightening screw to fix the break – is a common course for athletes. 

"As you tighten the screw, it compresses the fracture site together and gives it better stability," he said.

Marshall's wrist will be stable enough to play, Andrew said. Most patients wear a cast to immobilize the thumb. A hand therapist could make a soft plastic cast for Marshall, who could replace it with heavy tape to play.

Whether he does or not is a matter of his pain tolerance."If you do surgery, it will make it safe for you to play," Andrew said. "It's going to be painful, and it just depends on how painful it is."

Andrew noted that should the Tar Heels advance, Marshall would likely feel less pain as time goes on. 


This story is closed for comments.

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  • dollibug Mar 23, 2012

    Hope this young man does NOT play....not a good example for young people....a broken bone has to heal...regardless of what anyone might think....I am shocked that a doctor would even release him to play....what is wrong with people....a person's health is more important....the team can survive without him...

  • nctorwart Mar 22, 2012

    "why would anyone think about playing with any type of REAL fracture ?????"
    I injured my wrist in a soccer game my Soph year in High School. I was a goalkeeper. Taped it for about a month, played and practiced at 100%. Painful, but not enough to keep me from playing. My Freshman year in College I broke my hand in several places during a game. Those x-rays showed I had broken my wrist in High School and it had healed. I had no idea I had broken my wrist. Thought it was a sprain. Sometimes it just depends on you threshold for pain.

  • cathyem44 Mar 21, 2012

    why would anyone think about playing with any type of REAL fracture ?????

  • skeet5287 Mar 21, 2012

    Okay first off, praying for Kendall Marshall and regardless of whether he plays anymore this year, he is still a fan favorite and beloved Tar Heel.

    The Carolina Flop?? I assume that's comparable to the Duke Hand Check, Duke Flop, and Duke Travel, which has been made famous more recently by Duke PG Austin Rivers. Rivers' traveling has been so terrible that people felt compelled to post a compilation of it on YouTube. But the referees continue to let him get away with it.

    But thanks for your obvious concern for a college kid being hurt.

  • skeet5287 Mar 21, 2012

    The Carolina Flop? I assume that's comparable to the Dook Hand Check, The Dook Flop, and The Dook Travel? The latter of which has been exhibited so much by Dook's current point guard Austin Rivers that people felt compelled to post a video compilation of it on YouTube. But thanks for showing your concern for a college kid being hurt.

  • InTheNo Mar 21, 2012

    The Carolina Flop finally resulted in a serious injury at the worst time of year possible. Maybe they will stop it and start playing defense instead of 1) moving in front of an offensive player 2) yelling out as if in pain to call attention to it 3) looking astonished and Flopping to the floor.

    Dean Smith started it and made a career out of it. It's not good basketball, sportsmanship or sense.

    How many Flops do you see in the NBA?

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Mar 20, 2012

    You can get your hopes up all you want, but here's the way I see it:

    If Marshall plays, he will be a major liability. The guy has screw(s) in his right hand. Defenders only need to guard his left hand/side. And worst case, defenders will rough up his right hand (accidentally, of course!) and maybe cause additional injury. Or at a minimum, it will make him tentative and guarded when he realizes he really has to concentrate on protecting his right hand. Plus, he won't be able to shoot.

    Any way you slice it, Marshall playing is not a good thing for him -OR- for Carolina.

  • cwood3 Mar 20, 2012

    AMEN-Heels23. If I see President Obama or his cronnies lying to us on TV again-I may throw up!!

    I hope KM will be well enough to play-and play well. Further, I hope and pray that he does not further the injury by playing. I think UNC can beat Ohio with KM at 40% or so. State or Kamsas, doubtful unless other go nuts.

    All that being said, I smell some upsets and the PACK going to New Orleans. WOW-wouldn't that be sweet.

    Did you know that only 14 programs in NCAA history have 2 National Championship banners-and yes-State is one of them.
    And Carolina and Duke have what-10 between them?

  • trunkmonkee1971 Mar 20, 2012

    If he wants to play then by all means let him play. I am sure he will make the right decision. I think UNC can beat Ohio without KM and I would not count them out against Kansas or NC State. Let's face it. Somebody i going to have to tighten the belt on their big boy pants and step up regardless.

  • Turheel Mar 20, 2012

    I'm not writing them off. I said that I'm pulling for them no matter what, but they will not beat State or Kansas (or maybe Ohio) without an effective Kendall Marshall. I don't see him being healthy enough to play at the level it will take to advance. If he plays up to his healthy ability, I believe the Heels will go to New Orleans. I just don't think he'll be able to.