Maryland center Charles Pittman injured his left foot at basketball practice yesterday and will not make the trip to North Carolina for Thursday night's Atlantic Coast Conference game at Chapel Hill at 8 p.m (WJLA--TV-7).
"He broke his foot, I think. I'm not positive," said Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell last night. "He came down on somebody's foot and hollered. He said 'I think I heard something pop.' And I said, 'Aw, Charles, you didn't hear anything pop,' but it must have pretty bad. They had to carry him off to the infirmary (where Maryland trainer Tommy Lyles examined and X-rayed the foot). It's just part of the game."
The extent of the injury will not be known until Dr. Stan Lavine, the team physician, examines the foot and the X-rays today.
The injury hurts Maryland's chances of upsetting the second-ranked Tar Heels and bodes ill for its chances for a postseason tournament bid. In Maryland's last three games--victories over Wake Forest, Duke and Hofstra--Pittman made 18 of 25 shots from the floor and 15 of 17 from the foul line, and had 30 rebounds and six blocked shots. During a press conference yesterday, before the injury, Driesell observed that Pittman, a 6-foot-8 senior, was "playing the best of his career."
Taylor Baldwin, a 6-11 senior center, probably will start in place of Pittman Thursday.
Before the injury, Driesell said at the weekly press conference that he was fired up over the prospect of beating Carolina, even though his team lost by 16 points to the Tar Heels on Jan. 6.
"I don't care even if it is Chapel Hill," Driesell said. "We intend to go down there and whip their butts. If we don't, people will say, 'Oh, Lefty's just running his mouth again,' but I don't care . . .
"That may be the wrong thing to say," Driesell continued, "but I'm not like (North Carolina Coach) Dean (Smith) . . . I ain't gonna say, 'Oh, they got 14 pro prospects and we'll be lucky to stay in the game' . . . See, Dean's diplomatic. He's got a good rapport with you fellows (reporters) . . . Dean'll say that stuff even if he doesn't believe it . . . If I was smart, I'd say that stuff, too . . . But I'm not as smart as Dean. You know I'll run my mouth."
Maryland is 14-7 and 4-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and since losing to North Carolina (18-2, 7-2) has improved significantly.