Dexter Strickland cleared to play for UNC after tearing ACL seven months ago

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North Carolina guard Dexter Strickland has been cleared to play for the Tar Heels, seven months after tearing his ACL in a game against Virginia Tech.

Strickland, a 6-3 guard, shared the news Monday night via his Twitter account.

The New Jersey native played in 19 games last season before tearing his ACL in January, which required surgery and kept him out for the remainder of the team’s season and run to Elite Eight.

Before the injury, Strickland was averaging 7.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.

Coming into this season, Strickland will be important to help replace point guard Kendall Marshall, who declared for the NBA draft and was selected by the Phoenix Suns.

The Tar Heels welcome freshman guard Marcus Paige in 2012-13, giving Strickland some competition for the majority of the point guard duties.

Paige is a top-25 prospect in the Class of 2012 and a native of Iowa.

Strickland was the team’s best perimeter defender last season, making it key that he has healed properly and can stay healthy for the Tar Heels. Coach Roy Williams and UNC are looking to compensate for the loss of Marshall and three other starters to the NBA.

Four freshmen, including Paige, are joining the team from the Class of 2012.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_