CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina senior guard Marcus Paige said he was fine after pain in his right ankle caused him to miss nearly the entire second half in Monday's 94-70 win over Appalachian State.
It was a big enough scare that Paige, who missed the first six games of the season with a broken bone in his right hand, said he called to reassure his parents firsthand so they would stop texting the trainer.
Paige injured the ankle in the first half when he came down after blocking a shot by Frank Eaves. He exited the game seconds later at the 9:16 mark to have the ankle looked at but returned to the lineup with 7:56 left. Paige played 15 minutes in the first half.
"The area where I had surgery is sometimes sensitive still, so it just jammed that specific part of my ankle," Paige said. "It kind of was painful, and I couldn't loosen it up, so I just shut it down."
The pain was actually a familiar feeling to Paige. He had surgery on his right ankle in April to remove bone spurs. With the previous occurrences in mind, he said there was a "quick turnaround to feeling better" and that he wasn't worried about it.
Paige started the second half but exited the game with 17:45 remaining and the Tar Heels up 17. He went to the locker room and did not return to the bench, although he said had it been an ACC game or one with real stakes, he would have continued playing.
"It's already better, not entirely, but I'll be fine when we get back to practice on the 26th," said Paige, who added there was a little bit of swelling. "And I'm not just saying that. Last year I was saying I was fine, but I was hurt, but this is nothing."
Paige, who leads the Heels with 15.8 points per game, finished with nine points. He managed one assist, giving him 500 for his career. Paige joins Phil Ford, Kenny Smith and Jeff Lebo as only players in school history to score 1,500 points and have 500 assists.