North Carolina F Noel out 6-8 weeks with thumb injury

Updated: November 5, 2003, 7:58 PM ET

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina - North Carolina forward David Noel, who started through most of the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule last season, is out for six to eight weeks due to a torn ligament in his right thumb.

Noel played in all 35 games as a freshman last season, becoming a starter when Sean May went down with a broken foot on December 27. He averaged 5.9 points and 3.5 rebounds.

"I am so disappointed for David and our team," coach Roy Williams said. "David worked hard in the offseason to develop his all-around game and that work had shown well in his play in the first weeks of practice. We look forward to his full recovery and expedient return to the lineup."

The injury occurred in Tuesday's practice. North Carolina begins its first season under Williams on November 22 against Old Dominion. The Tar Heels, who went 19-14 a year ago, are ranked 10th in the preseason.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index