Senior tears flexor tendon in practice

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina defensive tackle Chase
Page will miss the season after injuring his left pinkie finger in

Coach John Bunting said Wednesday that Page, a key component of the Tar Heels' defense, tore a flexor tendon
during a drill in Tuesday's practice when the senior got his hand
caught in an offensive lineman's jersey.

Page had surgery Tuesday night and was released from the
hospital Wednesday.

"It's a difficult blow losing Chase Page for the season,"
Bunting said. "He's had a tremendous
training camp, the best he's ever played. He was dominating a
blocker in a drill, absolutely knocked him back three yards,
pulled his hand out, and snapped his pinkie. It's a shame."

Page was one of seven returning starters on a defense that
allowed 38 points and 505 yards per game during last season's 2-10
campaign. He started all 12 games and made 47 tackles, including 11 in a 42-34 win over Wake Forest on Nov. 8 -- the team's sole conference victory.

Page, who played as a true freshman in 2001, is eligible to
receive a medical redshirt and compete in 2005.

"There's no way to replace his leadership right now, but the
other players have got to step up," Bunting said.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.