published Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Tennessee Vols receiver Paige injures neck


by Will Woodbery

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee wide receiver Ahmad Paige sustained an undisclosed neck injury and was taken by an ambulance to the hospital after hitting a brick wall in the southeast corner of Neyland Stadium during practice Friday night.

“Our thoughts are obviously with Ahmad,” coach Lane Kiffin said. “Any neck injury you have to be safe with. ... He does have movement in his legs and in his arms.

“He was talking, communicating, obviously a little bit scared. When you have that many people around you and they put you in a brace, that’s a scary thing and they tell you not to move.”

Players encircled the injured sophomore and knelt in prayer before Paige was taken away by emergency officials.

The injury occurred following a fade pass from quarterback Jonathan Crompton.

“Everybody needs to keep him in their prayers,” Crompton said. “He’s a great kid.”

The brick wall was a recent renovation to the stadium that trimmed an already tight space outside the south end zone’s corners.

Ovation for Brown

Highly touted recruit Bryce Brown received a standing ovation from fans who spotted the five-star running back at Neyland Stadium and started to chant his name. Brown was in Knoxville on an unofficial visit to UT on Friday to see spring practice.

“I didn’t hear that, and I didn’t set that up,” Kiffin said.

Brown has said he will announce his decision of a college program Monday at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Berry good again

All-America defensive back Eric Berry, who has been limited in spring practice after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in December last year, said he’s finding it difficult to hold down his intensity.

“It’s very hard,” Berry said. “Football’s a contact sport, and I love contact. Just being out there, just playing two-hand touch basically is a bummer.”

Despite the limitations, Berry recorded an interception Friday night.

Last season, Berry set both school and SEC records with 265 interception-return yards and holds the league career interception-return-yardage record with 487.

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