Phil Ford, North Carolina's All-American guard, aggravated his injured right elbow today at the Tar Heels' last major practice before the NCAA semifinals. His status for Saturday's game in Altana against Nevada-Las Vegas is uncertain.
"It's very painful," said coach Dean Smith." "I don't have any idea whether he'll be able to play." Smith conferred with Ford, team trainer John Lacey and Dr. Timothy Taft, an orthopedic specialist, for about 30 minutes.
Ford suffered a hyper-extended elbow in the NCAA East Regional semifinal and sat out the final 19 minutes of the Eastern championship against Kentucky. Today was his first practice. He shot well, but midway into the one-hour workout, he experienced pain in the arm after making a two handed chest pass and left the floor.
Later, Ford, emerged from the training room with his head down. When questioned about the injury, he said, "It just got sore."
"He has some discomfort with certain parts of elbow extension," said Dr. Taft. "We're going to keep an eye on him and see if we can't get him ready to go. Phil has a remarkable abilityto play with discomfort."
Dr. Taft said that although he was play Saturday. But, when told of "Perhaps that's a better way to put it."
Dr. Taft said that although he was philosophically opposed to injecting a painkiller so an athlete could play, he would not rule out that possibility.