Mack Brown remains hopeful that defensive back Ja’Qurious Conley will play for North Carolina at some point in 2022.

Conley started 10 games a year ago and has been an important part of UNC’s secondary during his time in Chapel Hill. He suffered a season-ending knee injury against Wofford last November.

Asked for a timeline, Brown told reporters on Tuesday he wasn’t sure about any specifics. However, Conley has returned to practice.

“It’s a slow process with him, but hopefully he’ll be able to do some things in two weeks,” Brown said, via Inside Carolina. “And if not, I can see him playing some before the season’s over.”

Conley’s return could be a big deal for North Carolina’s defense, which has struggled vs. the pass this year. He has 80 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions and 1 pass deflection during his career.

If Conley plays in 4 games or less this season, he would keep his year of eligibility. North Carolina is 6-1 this season and will play its 8th game of the year in Week 9 against Pittsburgh. The Tar Heels are in line to play in a bowl game and potentially the ACC Championship Game as well.

North Carolina is the lone remaining Coastal team that is undefeated (3-0) in ACC play.