North Carolina center Joel James out two weeks with sprained MCL

Overshadowed by the news that P.J. Hairston’s career at North Carolina is over, the Tar Heels also had an injury announcement.

Starting center Joel James will miss up to two weeks after spraining his MCL in Wednesday’s loss to Texas.

James, a 6-foot-10 center from Florida, has started all 10 games for North Carolina this season. He is playing only 12.5 minutes per game, averaging 3.7 points and 4.3 rebounds.

The Tar Heels play three games over the next 11 days, home contests against Davidson, Northern Kentucky and UNC-Wilmington. ACC play opens up at Wake Forest on Jan. 5. With James out, expect Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks to see more minutes inside. Both players have shown flashes of being consistent performers in the post this season, while Desmond Hubert could also see some more court time.

North Carolina is 7-3 this season, with wins over Louisville, Michigan and Kentucky.

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