North Carolina got a little bit of a scare last week when sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall suffered a unique injury during last Thursday's practice, as he injured his back during a defensive drill.
"At the end of practice Thursday it happened. I was playing defense and I just stepped off my left foot backwards, and planted on my right foot and I just felt a sharp pain," Marshall said Tuesday afternoon.
"It kind of stunned me for a second. I just sat there---I was afraid to move."
Marshall suffered what appears to be back spasms---which is a first for the UNC standout---but ever since the initial injury he's been doing substantially better.
"That was the first time I felt, I guess you could say, a spasm of that sort. It was a little scary at the time, but when I woke up the next day I felt three times as good, and then the more time I took off and rested it, it got back to normal," Marshall said.
"That day (when I first hurt it) I was in some pain, but I woke up the next morning, and it didn't bother me at all when I was sleeping. I was fine."
Marshall got an X-Ray to make sure there wasn't anything seriously damaged---there wasn't---and in the ensuing days he's slowly worked back into the practice rotation.
"I went to the Doctor and had an X-Ray on my back. It came back negative. We found out that I was just having some pain," Marshall said. "Friday we were off. Saturday we came back and I wanted to practice, and Coach only let me do 'Dummy Offense,' things like that with no contact."
"Yesterday (Monday) he (Coach Williams) only planned on me doing less than 50 percent, but I ended up being out there the whole time. I told him (Williams) I felt great, and I'm 100 percent," he added.
"(Marshall is) better. He went through a little less than 50 percent of practice yesterday (Monday) and he didn't appear any worse for the wear afterwards, so hopefully he'll be able to do a little more today (Tuesday)," said UNC head coach Roy Williams.
It was admittedly a little bit of a worrisome situation for everyone involved to see Marshall go down, but the Tar Heel players and coaches are obviously glad to see him bounce back so successfully.
"(It was) quite a bit (of a scare)," said senior big man Tyler Zeller. "Dexter (Strickland) is a great point guard, but at the same time he can't compare to Kendall. Kendall is a superb passer, and he does a great job running the offense."
"Like I said, Dexter has come a long ways, but Kendall is a fantastic point guard, and he's somebody that's a vital part of our team," Zeller added.
Marshall fully intends to play Friday night when the Tar Heels board the U.S.S. Carl Vinson aircraft carrier in San Diego for a game with Michigan State.
"I think he'll be all right to play. I don't know much more than that," Zeller said. "He practiced yesterday (Monday). Hopefully he's got three more days to get back to it."
Marshall also had a little conversation with his father, who put a scare into all of Tar Heel Nation following his son's setback with one of his Twitter messages.
"I had a little talk with him (my dad) about that (twittering)," said Marshall, drawing laughs from the media assemblage. "He always gets on me about being on Twitter and stuff, so I guess that was my time to say something to him. (He overreacted) just a little bit."
The good news from Carolina's point of view is that it looks like they'll have their point guard when they tip off the season against the Spartans Friday night.