It's a big night on the football front - #Stefonukkah, dontchaknow - but there's some awful news on the way for basketball: point guard Pe'Shon Howard, who just returned from a broken foot in late December that kept him sidelined for the first ten games of the season, has suffered a torn ACL and will likely miss the rest of the season. The injury occurred in practice on Thursday.
This is a huge blow for a Maryland team that was just getting used to playing with Howard, the closest thing they have to a true point guard. The results were mixed and perhaps not as beneficial as some had hoped, but things will unquestionably get more difficult without having the option of giving him major minutes.
I assume Nick Faust, who manned the point at times before Howard's injury, will take Pe's spot in the starting lineup. Faust and Terrell Stoglin will likely share the lead guard duties, and I imagine Stoglin will probably play every minute Mark Turgeon can spare him.
While it does hurt, we should note that this isn't the end of the road for Maryland. While I think the Terrapins are objectively better with Howard, their resumé pre-Pe' looks a lot like post-Pe', and in fact you could make an argument that it's even better. Remember, they knocked off likely tournament-bound Notre Dame before Howard returned, and nearly defeated Illinois as well. I expect some of their losses will come by bigger margins than expected before, but so long as Stoglin continues his amazing form there's no reason more progress can't be made.
Many will be wondering if Maryland can redshirt Howard. While exceptions can always be made, I'd be surprised to see one happen here; he's already played in 14 games, well over the maximum one-third, and they've come past the halfway point of the season, as well. When Howard returns next year, it'll almost certainly be as a junior.
You have to feel for Howard. First he had the foot injury that sidelined him for months, and even after he returned he never really rounded into form, struggling from the field and recording low assist numbers. Against Clemson, his frustration seemed palpable. And now this.
Hopefully Howard can recover from this quickly and be ready to go next year, when the Terrapins will be gunning for the NCAA Tournament. They'll need his experience and depth. Until then, the backcourt onus will fall even more heavily on Stoglin.