North Carolina Benches Starting RB Giovanni Bernard with Knee Injury

By M. Shannon Smallwood

North Carolina Head Coach Larry Fedora has a history of keeping all things related to his team close to the chest and the media on a “need to know basis” only.

Well, that was the case today as heralded Tar Heel sophomore RB Giovanni Bernard will not play in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons with what is listed as a knee injury.

Bernard left last week’s game against the Elon Phoenix in the second quarter.

It was not that big of a surprise last week Carolina had the game already well in control. When he left, Bernard had 93 yards on 9 carries and a touchdown, 2 receptions for 10 yards and a touchdown and a 70-yard punt return for a score as well.

Fedora said at the time he just took Bernard out as a precaution and assured he would play against Wake.

Freshman Romar Morris, freshman Marquise Williams and junior A.J. Blue will now see the action out of the backfield for the Heels in the ACC opener. It is apparent through the first quarter the Heels will want to highlights sophomore QB Bryn Renner and its talented group of receivers. Bryn is 10-13 for 118 yards minutes into the second quarter.

But Renner just left the game after a violent collision at the goal line on 3rd and goal for the Heels.

Fedora delivered his weekly injury report at the deadline on Thursday evening. Bernard was not listed on the report. In fact only five Carolina players were listed at “out”. No Tar Heels were listed as probable, questionable or doubtful.

Again, Bernard is dressed and went through the team warm ups prior to the scheduled start of the game.

Severe storms rolled through Winston Salem, North Carolina, just prior to kick off at 3 p.m. The field was cleared of all fans and teams and the game was delayed more than an hour.

It was during this delay, Fedora and his staff decided to not play Bernard.

The decision could be based on the field conditions and rain that continues still here in the second quarter.

Rant Sports will continue to follow this story and the official injury status of Bernard.


M. Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years experience in sports broadcasting, journalism and college athletics and currently covers ACC Football for Rant Sports.

Follow him @woodysmalls

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