White Uncertain, Pianalto Doubtful for Bowl


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – UNC head coach Butch Davis told reporters on Friday that there is a possibility that injured running back Johnny White will be available for the Music City Bowl, but tight end Zack Pianalto is unlikely to suit up against Tennessee in Nashville on Dec. 30.

White fractured his right clavicle (collar bone) in the first half of the Tar Heels' 37-35 victory at Florida State on Nov. 6. The Asheville, N.C., who led North Carolina with 720 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, was given a 6-to-8 week timetable for his return. The bowl game will be played two days shy of the eight-week mark.

Davis indicated that the fifth-year senior would be "on the cusp" of potentially playing against the Volunteers.

"As we return to practice over the weekend, we'll get a little bit of an idea," Davis said. "The doctors will do a bone density test and find out how far along the healing on the collar bone could be. The big question would be could he sustain a hit to the collar bone? That would be the biggest deal.

"If he can, then certainly we would love for him to have that opportunity to play, and if he can't, we don't want him to [have a setback] where he would have to have some kind of surgery to put a pin in or a plate on it just because we were selfish and we wanted to try to use him for that particular game."

Pianalto is less likely to be available for the bowl game after having surgery to repair his fractured right fibula on Oct. 22. The Springdale, Ark. native, who had 30 receptions through the first five games, suffered his injury in UNC's 44-10 victory at Virginia on Oct. 16.

Pianalto is not expected to be fully cleared to run until Dec. 25. Davis initially said there was "less than a five percent chance" of the senior playing in the bowl game, but then provided an even dimmer outlook.

"As a matter of fact, I would say that there's almost no chance," Davis said.

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