Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hansbrough: New mask more comfortable

WINSTON-SALEM North Carolina center Tyler Hansbrough said his new mask is more comfortable than the one he wore last week to protect his broken nose during the ACC tournament.

He said the new mask, which he wore during practice Wednesday, is tighter on his face. It appears lighter and less cumbersome than the one he wore previously to protect his broken nose.

"It doesn’t cut my vision like the old one did," Hansbrough said.
Coach Roy Williams said Hansbrough’s healing is close to the point where team medical officials and Hansbrough’s family will agree that he doesn’t have to wear a mask.

North Carolina will meet Eastern Kentucky in a first-round NCAA tournament game at about 9:40 p.m. Thursday.

Hansbrough said Duke guard Gerald Henderson called to apologize for breaking his nose during the closing seconds of a March 4 game. North Carolina guard Wayne Ellington, a high school teammate of Henderson's, gave Henderson the number.

"It is frustrating," Hansbrough said. "My nose is broken and I have to wear the mask. I accept his apology and things like that, but at the same time, I have a broken nose." - Ken Tysiac