Monday, September 10, 2012

UNC football: Giovani Bernard watch continues

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina sophomore running back Giovani Bernard said exactly one week ago that he felt “great.” This was after Bernard had left the Tar Heels’ season-opening victory against Elon with an apparent knee injury.

Bernard sat out the second half of that game, which wasn’t a surprise, anyway, given the lopsided score. And then he sat out the entirety of UNC’s 28-27 loss against Wake Forest on Saturday.

By then, Bernard’s absence wasn’t necessarily a surprise; rumors had spread on various Internet forums that suggested maybe Bernard wasn’t as healthy as Bernard and coach Larry Fedora were letting on. Plus, Bernard appeared to be limited in practice last week.

The question now, of course, is when will Bernard be back? This weekend at Louisville? The following weekend at home against East Carolina? Asked earlier today about Bernard’s status, Fedora said this:

“Yesterday, he moved around really well – said he felt good. So we’ll see tomorrow when he gets out on the field. But he felt good yesterday, I know that, moving around. He did everything everybody else did.”

Of course, we’ve heard that before. At least we’ve heard an iteration of that before.

Fedora last week gave no indication that Bernard’s status for the Wake game was in doubt. And that wasn’t a surprise, either, given Fedora’s reluctance – or, in some cases, his refusal – to provide injury updates.

Fedora earlier today basically repeated what he said on Saturday when asked why Bernard hadn’t played. Had Bernard endured setback during practice last week? Had he simply been too overconfident that he’d be able to bounce back from whatever injury he suffered against Elon?

“I think maybe a little of both,” Fedora said. “… He wants to get out there. He wants to be out there every snap, you know. It’s like during camp. You might have the threes out there and all of a sudden you see him, he’s out there with them. I’m like, what are you doing? Well, I want to play. I want to get all the reps.

“So that’s just – that’s him. He wants to be out there. I don’t think he’ll ever – I know every time I talk to him, he’s like, yeah, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready. Just before the game just didn’t feel right. So I don’t want to put him in that situation.”

So there you have it. Will Bernard play against Louisville? Definitely maybe. Or is it maybe definitely?

Perhaps we’ll just see on Saturday.

- Andrew Carter