UNC's Kennedy Meeks out at least 2 weeks with bone bruise on knee

CHAPEL HILL -- North Carolina starting forward Kennedy Meeks will miss at least two weeks with a bone bruise on his left knee, the school announced Monday.

The 6-foot-10 junior had started each of the Tar Heels' nine games this season. Meeks, who was shooting a career-best 59.5 percent from the field, is second on the team with 7.4 rebounds and fourth in scoring with a 12.3 average.

Meeks had scaled down from weighing about 320 pounds when he arrived on campus as a freshman to somewhere in the 260-pound range before the season began. His conditioning not only allowed him to play more minutes, but he credited it for improving his defensive play. Meeks' 13 steals are second on the team to 15 by guard Joel Berry.

In his absence, coach Roy Williams will have a number of options that include moving starting forward Brice Johnson to center and sliding junior Isaiah Hicks into the starting lineup at power forward. Hicks is coming off a season-high 14 points in Saturday's loss at Texas.

Or senior forward Joel James, who started 13 games as a sophomore, could end up back in the starting five. James averages just 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds, but he has appeared in every game this season. Freshman forward Luke Maye could see more playing time as well while the Tar Heels look to fill Meeks' void.

The 11th-ranked Tar Heels next play Wednesday night when they host Tulane at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.