Wednesday, August 29, 2007

AP: Ainge plans to play with broken pinky

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge has a broken pinkie on his throwing hand, but is expected to play Saturday at No. 12 California.  "He's thrown a bit, and it looks like he's going to throw fine," coach Phillip Fulmer said Wednesday. "But I appreciate his toughness getting back out there."  The senior jammed the right pinkie taking snaps on Monday and an X-ray on Wednesday revealed the break. Fulmer said he expected it would take three to four weeks for Ainge's finger to be back to 100 percent.

Fulmer said sophomore backup quarterback Jonathan Crompton was prepared to take over for Ainge if he struggles in the 15th-ranked Vols' season opener.  "If it doesn't work out Jonathan will have to be ready to go, and I have the utmost confidence in Jonathan," Fulmer said.  As a junior, Ainge set a single-season school record for pass completions with 233, hitting on 67 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns.

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