Hansbrough likely to play in ACC tourney with mask

Updated: March 6, 2007, 2:08 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Tyler Hansbrough will probably play in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament despite breaking his nose during the blood-filled final seconds of No. 8 North Carolina's victory over 14th-ranked Duke on Sunday.

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Hansbrough suffered what coach Roy Williams said Monday was a small nondisplaced fracture when Duke's Gerald Henderson flagrantly fouled him with 14.5 seconds left in the Tar Heels' 86-72 win. Hansbrough also may have a broken tooth.

Williams said Hansbrough is being fitted with a custom-made protective mask and should be ready for North Carolina's first tournament game Friday. Hansbrough leads the team and ranks among the ACC's leaders with averages of 18.8 points and 8.0 rebounds.

However, according to North Carolina, a final decision on whether or not Hansbrough wears a mask for the ACC tournament has not been determined.

The fracture was discovered during an X-ray Monday morning, Williams said during the ACC's weekly coaches' teleconference. Shortly after the game Williams had said Hansbrough's nose was not broken.

"I gave some bad information because I had a bad source ... the source was Tyler," Williams said Monday. "It's not completely broken. ... His nose did not have to be set, straightened out or anything like that."

Hansbrough had his nose broken after pulling down the rebound of his own missed free throw and going back up for a layup. Henderson leaped to block the shot and after the ball left Hansbrough's hand, Henderson's right elbow appeared to strike the Tar Heels' center in the nose, sending him crumpling to the ground.

Blood poured down Hansbrough's face and onto his lip, his chin and the court, and he had to be restrained from the Blue Devils as he went to the locker room. Henderson was ejected and received an automatic one-game suspension for Duke's ACC tournament opener against North Carolina State.

"[Tyler] was actually fouled by Steve Johnson on the ground and by that time Gerald Henderson has left the floor. His intent is to stop him from scoring at the basket," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Monday.

"His hand is open but the ball never goes up there and in the middle of the jump he never extends his arm and because there is no ball you can see [Gerald] turning and closing his eyes and he hits Tyler.

"If it were intentional then his hand would have been closed and he would have met him head on. To me that's what happened. It's unfortunate that the kid got hurt and all the blood. That's the way I see it. If I thought he did that intentionally, then I would suspend him for longer than a game. That's my take on it," Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski said Duke won't appeal Henderson's suspension.

Williams also said that Hansbrough injured a tooth earlier in the game and will probably need a root canal after the season ends.

"I don't think there is any intentional planned thing, 'I'm going to go get the guy,' " Williams said. "I think it was an unfortunate thing that happened during the game."

Krzyzewski agreed with Williams' assessment, but said Henderson deserved the suspension for the foul.

"[Henderson] should be punished [for the foul]. These kids don't have long careers and you never want an incident to soil or taint someone's reputation. He's an amazing kid."

ACC commissioner John Swofford said Monday he was satisfied with how officials reacted Sunday. Swofford said the ACC took another look at the play Monday.

"I am satisfied with it. It's unfortunate the way the incident happened. The officials handled it well. The other players and the two coaches handled it well once the incident happened. One of the worst things that could happen is for that to set up something bigger. They all handled everything well and I'm supportive of the actions taken by the game officials."

The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Andy Katz contributed to this report.