Another Maryland student-athlete is down with a knee injury.
Terps linebacker Durell Nchami has torn his ACL, coach Mike Locksley said Tuesday night.
It’s the second such injury of fall camp for the football team and the third of the offseason. Star wide receiver Jeshaun Jones tore his ACL two weeks ago on Aug. 6 and Antwaine Richardson, who was set to start at safety, suffered a tear in the spring.
“I know it sound cliche-ish, but injuries are going to be part of the game. This is game that those types of things happen,” Locksley said. “The next man has to step up and fill the gap or fill the void per say, and we've really coached [them] up that one guy can't create the culture or bring the team down with these injuries. We’ve got to fight through them.
“I mean are we disappointed? Yeah. We lost two really good players that would help us, and depth has already been an issue for us as a team and as a whole. And we just can't continue to lose bodies like that, but it is part of the game and we have to adjust and move forward.”
Nchami wasn’t expected to be a leading man like Jones or Richardson were, but he was slated to play a role in the pass rushing rotation under Jon Hoke’s 3-4 defensive scheme. In football, especially at Maryland, depth is extremely important, and having a talented youngster like Nchami behind transfers Keandre Jones and Shaq Smith would’ve been a big plus.
“It’s a blow to us because of depth,” Locksley said. “That’s a big concern for us. We’ve got a really strong core group of players, but our depth is an issue. We’ve got to continue to find ways to keep our guys healthy.”
The linebacker was entering his sophomore season after arriving on campus last fall. He played 10 games as a first-year player, racking up 15 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss to help a Terps defense that struggled to stop the run. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that he can take a medical redshirt and preserve a year of eligibility.
“It’s a shame because he was actually playing really well and had really taken the next step,” Locksley said. “We expect him to fully recover once he has the surgery.”
Football hasn’t been the only sport affected by the ACL bug thus far. During the team’s first fall practice on Aug. 13, men’s soccer’s Paul Bin tore his ACL. And on Aug. 15, it was revealed that women’s lacrosse’s Lizzie Colson tore her ACL as well. As the training camps reach their end and the actual seasons begin, one can only help knees will be spared going forward.
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