Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 3/17/12
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- John Henson has never been much of a sit-still kind of guy. He likes to get on his feet and move his long legs around. The North Carolina forward loves to joke, smile, laugh with and at people, and he just enjoys everything life has to offer. Except injuries. And that has been Henson's bane for the last nine days after landing hard on his left wrist early in the Tar Heels' victory over Maryland ACC Tournament quarterfinals. Since then, Henson has been a constant source of discussion in media rooms, talk radio and probably super market lines along Tobacco Road. This is the time of year this region lives for, and when one of its most integral players is in limbo, stress levels soar. But not for Henson. He hasn't enjoyed the process, but he can't do much about it but get treatment and seek help from a higher source. He's iced it, undergone micro frequency treatment, had an ultrasound, applied creams, taken pills, and has prayed quite a bit, too. He's even had "two things with a lazar that runs up and down my arm." So far, none has led the 6-foot-11 Henson back to the playing floor for a game, though Sunday's NCAA Tournament third-round contest versus 8th-seed Creighton (29-5) might signal his return. Creighton's players said Saturday afternoon they are preparing for Henson to play his usual 30-plus minutes. Henson said that's a wise approach. "I think so," he said when asked if the Bluejays were being smart. "You have to prepare for what you think is going to happen, and if they think that's what's going to happen that's what they need to do. I've been getting treatment -- I get treatment about every hour it seems like -- and hopefully it keeps getting better." Freshman James Michael McAdoo has started in Henson's place and his play has been a bit inconsistent. He's averaged 11 points and six rebounds in the four games, playing a total of 107 minutes. While McAdoo is a splendid talent with an incredible upside, he's not yet Henson, not even close. And top-seeded UNC (30-5) is not the same team without Henson helping Tyler Zeller patrol the paint. It hurts North Carolina on offense to a degree, but far more so on defense and with the spirit that Henson brings to the floor. "His shot blocking ability and his rebounding ability is something that's very, very tough to make up," said UNC senior Tyler Zeller. "He's already one of the best rebounders in the nation and it's something we've been missing." Despite owning the widely held distinction as the best rebounding team in the nation, UNC was outrebounded by Vermont. Henson will help, but he has to be able to contribute. A tall guy simply taking up space won't help the Tar Heels beat a Creighton team that is 29-5 and strongly believes it was under-seeded. "Catching the ball and being comfortable," Henson said is important. "(UNC) Coach (Roy Williams) always says you have to be comfortable and you have to look confident." What kind of confidence will Henson play with? He even half-joked about not having dunked in a real game for a while and how he wants to get out there and ram one home. But he might also be a bit gun-shy. "I can't even tell you until I get out there," said Henson, who averages 13.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots per game. "Instincts will probably take over and hopefully it will be pain free." Henson said Saturday afternoon it felt a lot better than it did Friday. Some kind of thin, blue medical tape that "stabilizes" covered the injured area, and Henson doesn't expect to play with any protective padding. More than anything, he's just chomping at the bit to get back on the court and try to win a national title. "I just want to get back to playing," he said. "I want to help my teammates."
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