Christopher Smith

UNC OT And NFL Prospect Breaks Leg

Created on Dec. 29, 2013 5:52 PM EST

North Carolina left tackle James Hurst started a school-record 49 games for the Tar Heels, working for years to position himself for the NFL draft in May.

It took just one play to potentially erase that effort.

Hurst suffered a "non-displaced fibula fracture" in his left leg, the team tweeted Saturday night.

The 6-foot-7, 305-pound senior apparently got his leg rolled on the final drive of the first quarter. Hurst wasn't in the vision of ESPN's camera during the play and the network elected not to show the replay.

Hurst hopped off the field on one leg with help from the training staff and North Carolina proceeded to win the Belk Bowl, 39-17, over Cincinnati.

First-team All-ACC in 2012 and 2013, CBS Sports projected Hurst as a second- or third-round selection before the injury. The school did not offer a timetable for his recovery, but the injury almost certainly will affect what he will be able to do physically during pre-draft workouts like the NFL Combine.

Junior Nick Appel replaced Hurst after the injury.

“That was tough, now,” coach Larry Fedora said according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “James is a senior and playing in his last game in Carolina blue. That was tough to see him go down. And Appel stepped right up and we didn’t miss a beat.”

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