Tar Heels welcome back McDonald

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Updated: 12/18/2013 6:44 pm

Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) - North Carolina guard Leslie McDonald will play his first game of the season Wednesday against Texas after having his eligibility restored by the NCAA.

McDonald, as well as fellow guard P.J. Hairston, were suspended indefinitely at the start of the season for violating NCAA rules regarding impermissible benefits, and the Tar Heels went 7-2 in their absence.

"I truly regret putting my family, UNC and my teammates and coaches through this," McDonald said. "I apologize to everyone who cares about the University of North Carolina and will do what I can to make up for it. You never know how much you love to play the game until you are not allowed to."

McDonald, the lone scholarship senior on this season's North Carolina roster, averaged 7.2 points and 2.1 rebounds in a reserve role in 2012-13. He was suspended for three games during his junior campaign for academic reasons.

Hairston, UNC's leading scorer last season, has yet to be reinstated.

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