P.J. Hairston

PJ Hairston suffers scary concussion, leaves UNC’s win over BC

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The news coming out of Conte Forum after UNC’s 82-70 win over Boston College last night has less to do with the outcome of the game itself as it does the terrifying collision between PJ Hairston and Dexter Strickland.

Hairston went for a steal along the baseline and missed, and as he tried to chase down Patrick Heckmann, he collided with Strickland, the help defender, at full speed. Essentially, Strickland clotheslined him with an elbow to the jaw, which sent him crashing to the floor. He landed on his back and his head whipped against the court.

Hairston couldn’t stand up on his own afterwards, nearly falling when he tried to walk, and didn’t open his eyes after the collision. It was scary enough for anyone watching, so imagine being his mother, who was actually in attendance. He was eventually taken off on a stretcher.

The diagnosis is a concussion. Hairston didn’t return to the game, but he did sit up and walk around, eventually returning to the bench with a towel over his head.

It’s unclear how long Hairston is going to be out. Reggie Bullock suffered a concussion earlier this season and missed a week. North Carolina play Virginia Tech on Saturday.

The frustrating part for Hairston is that he was, as Roy Williams put it, “as hot as I’ve ever seen him.” The injury happened with 10 minutes left in the first half. Hairston came off the bench, but still managed 14 points — on 4-4 from beyond the arc — and three assists before the collision.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.