Puff Johnson likely to miss two more games

By R.L. Bynum

Junior Puff Johnson has missed No. 1 North Carolina’s first two games and will likely be out for at least two more as he recovers from a sore knee.

Coach Hubert Davis said Monday that he practiced Sunday and had limited reps Monday.

“He’s been given a full go in terms of being able to practice fully,” Davis said. “And my anticipation is for him to practice this entire week and be ready to go when we go out to Portland next week.”

That would mean the 6–8 Johnson would miss the first four games of the season, including home games on Tuesday at 8 p.m. against Gardner-Webb (ACC Network) and Sunday at noon against James Madison (ACC Network.)

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Carolina plays its opener of the Phil Knight Invitational on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) in Portland against Portland, with games on Friday (against Iowa State or No. 16 Villanova) and Sunday (against either No. 18 Alabama, No. 25 UConn, Oregon or Michigan State).

Johnson missed 15 games last season because of COVID-19 protocols and then a sprained toe but scored in double figures at N.C. State (16 points), against Marquette in the first round of the NCAA tournament (11) and against Kansas in the national-championship game (11). He also had six rebounds against Kansas and six rebounds in the home victory over the Wolfpack.

Johnson will likely be a key player off the bench for a UNC team that only played seven players more than six minutes in the opening-game 69–56 victory over UNCW and only six players more than eight minutes in the 102–86 victory over College of Charleston.

UNC vs. Gardner-Webb

— 8:05 p.m. Tuesday at Smith Center
— Wes Durham and Dan Bonner on the ACC Network call
— Gardner-Webb, which went 18–13 last season, is 0–2 after a 65–63 Nov. 7 loss at Colorado State and an 86–71 Thursday loss at Stephen F. Austin.
— Carolina has won all five meetings, with each November games in the Smith Center and under Coach Roy Williams: 83–80 in 2005, 103–50 in 2006, 93–72 in 2009, 76–59 in 2012 and 77–61 in 2019.
— UNC is 177–18 all-time against non-conference in-state opponents.


DateMonth/dayTime/scoreOpponent/event
(current ranking)
LocationTV/record
October
28FridayW, 101–40Johnson C. Smith HomeExhibition
November
7MondayW, 69–56UNCWHome1–0
11FridayW, 102–86College of CharlestonHome2–0
15TuesdayW, 72–66Gardner-WebbHome3–0
20SundayW, 80–64James MadisonHome4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 89–81First round: PortlandPortland5–0
25FridayL, 70–65Semifinals:
Iowa State
Portland5–1
27SundayL, 103–101,
4 OTs
Consolation:
No. 18 Alabama
Portland5–2
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
30Wednesday9:15 No. 11 IndianaBloomington, Ind.ESPN
December
4Sunday3 p.m.Virginia TechBlacksburg, Va.ACCN
10Saturday3:15Georgia TechHomeESPN
13Tuesday7 p.m.The CitadelHomeESPN2
CBS Sports Classic
17Saturday3 p.m.Ohio StateNew YorkCBS
Jumpman Invitational
21Wednesday7 MichiganCharlotteESPN
30 Friday TBAPittsburghPittsburghACCN
January
4Wednesday9 p.m.Wake ForestHomeACCN
7Saturday11:30 a.m.Notre DameHomeESPN2
10Tuesday9 p.m.No. 5 VirginiaCharlottesvilleESPN or ESPN2
14Saturday2 p.m.LouisvilleLouisville, Ky.ESPN
17Tuesday7 p.m.Boston CollegeHomeRSN
21Saturday5 p.m.N.C. StateHomeACCN
24Tuesday9 p.m.SyracuseSyracuse, N.Y.ESPN
February
1Wednesday7 p.m.PittsburghHomeACCN
4Saturday6:30No. 8 DukeDurhamESPN
7Tuesday7 p.m.Wake ForestWinston-SalemESPN or ESPN2
11Saturday2 p.m.ClemsonHomeESPN or ESPN2
13Monday7 p.m.MiamiHomeESPN
19Sunday1 p.m.N.C. StateRaleighESPN
22Wednesday9 p.m.Notre DameSouth Bend, Ind.ESPN or ESPN2
25Saturday6 or 8No. 5 VirginiaHomeESPN
27Monday7 p.m.Florida StateTallahassee, Fla.ESPN
March
4Saturday6 or 6:30No. 8 DukeHomeESPN
ACC Tournament
7–11Tuesday-SaturdayTBATBAGreensboroTBA
If tickets for home games are available, you can purchase them here. ACCN means the game airs on ACC Network. RSN means the game airs on regional sports networks (in many cases, Bally Sports but also MASN, NESN and Yes Network.)

Photo via @UNC_Basketball

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