Big things are expected out of North Carolina junior center Tyler Zeller this season. The Heels lost two starters and two reserves from their frontcourt, leaving Zeller and sophomore John Henson as the only experienced big men.
And Zeller, a mobile 7-footer, has the skills to fulfill on his promise. If he stays healthy.
He’s missed chunks of his first two seasons due to a broken wrist and a stress fracture in his foot, leaving some to wonder if he’s injury prone.
What? Listen bud, Zeller has news for you. There’s a difference between getting injured and being injury prone. Zeller says he’s far from the latter. From the Raleigh News & Observer:
“I don’t think I’m injury prone,” the 7-footer said today at the ACC’s Operation Basketball media availability. “Obviously, freshman year [when he broke his wrist after landing awkwardly under the basket], freak accident; I don’t think I could have avoided that other than shooting a layup and getting blocked or something like that. Then last year, the stress fracture – basically, you get a stress fracture by overworking, and your muscle gets strained, and then you break a bone.
“…I was never injured in high school. I missed one practice, and it was for a flu shot. And I don’t really know why I couldn’t practice that day. I had to go tell my coach, and he made fun of me all day.”
Gotta say, I agree with Zeller on this one. The wrist injury could’ve happened to anyone. And stress fracture frequently happen to basketball players. They’re one of the perils of playing all the time.
But Zeller can defend himself ’til he’s (Carolina) blue in the face. Best way to prove he’s not injury prone? Stay healthy this season. That’ll shut everyone up.
Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.