Even as fall approaches and fans are getting ready to pile into Byrd, there's still some haziness on whether star receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long are fully recovered and ready to repeat the success they had last season. In heat of a 5-2 record and a great start for the Terps last season, Diggs and Long went down with season ending injuries in the exact same game. Well, ten months later and the question is still on Maryland faithful's minds: are they 100 percent?
Maryland fans have seen the two at open scrimmages and heard of their recovery in practice, but there's nothing quite like live game action. We caught up with Nicolas Lewis, physical therapist and manager of SB Nation's Underdog Dynasty blog, to further understand Maryland's top two receiver's recoveries.
"At this point, the two of them are completely healed from their injuries, or as healed as you'll ever get (once you break that bone, it is never more than about 99% it's old strength)," he said. "The biggest thing for them is that, as with any injury, nothing can mimic game action, so you won't truly know how things will go in-game until you get there."
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With the season less than a week away, Diggs and Long will get their first true test at game speed against FCS James Madison. Whether in an attempt to give the star receiver a wake up call or to prevent any unwanted preseason injuries, Randy Edsall relegated Diggs to second team for the inner-squad scrimmage. The star receiver is back with the first team now.
Lewis argues that Diggs was fortunate to not have fractured his tibia along with his fibula (as Long did) but also unfortunate because it was a spiral fracture "where instead of the bone breaking in half, it almost twists apart due to a torsion force on the bone."
Diggs quick cuts and elusiveness have given him rise on Heisman watches and NFL GM's watch lists, but his spiral fracture could make him susceptible to a similar injury on the same leg, as Lewis described.
"Wide receivers experience a substantial amount of torsion force on their lower extremities, whether it is getting into and out of the breaks in their routes, cutting to avoid a tackler, or even being taken down by one," he said. "This is important for Diggs because that makes him the more likely of the two to experience a re-injury of the same leg. Not that such an injury has any high likelihood, nor would it necessarily be a re-break in the bone, but it bears watching as he starts making all of his game-action moves at full competitive speed."
Both players are listed as starters on Maryland's two-deep against James Madison. For coverage of C-USA, Sun Belt, AAC, Army and Navy football, read the excellent coverage from Lewis at his team at Underdog Dynasty.