Pe’Shon Howard is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Tuesday in Baltimore, according to a team spokesman. It’s the next step toward his return to Maryland’s lineup next season.
Howard had started 12 games for the Terps at point guard this season after recovering from a broken left foot suffered in late October. Known as a speedy healer, he’s guaranteed nonetheless to miss the last six games of the regular season, in which Maryland (14-10, 4-6 ACC) faces three ranked teams (home-and-away against No. 22 Virginia, and at No. 8 North Carolina).
Thursday’s game against Boston College (8-17, 3-8) is expected to be a tough test for the Terps’ back court. While the Eagles have lost seven of their last eight, they lean heavily on the long-range shooting ability of junior guard Matt Humphrey, who has taken a team-high 139 shots from beyond the arc.
Howard was Maryland’s most active defender, and his absence leaves an opening that Coach Mark Turgeon is trying to fill through a combination of freshman Nick Faust and leading scorer Terrell Stoglin. The vacancy also creates an opening for 6-foot-5 swingman Mychal Parker to prove his value to the team. Parker scored a season-high 12 points (including 6 of 6 free throws) in his 21 minutes during Saturday’s 73-55 loss at Duke. Turgeon liked Parker’s offensive efficiency but wants him to become “a more disciplined defender.”
Howard’s injury, suffered in practice Feb. 9 on a spin move that didn’t involve contact, came at a bad time for the Terps, who had started to build momentum following their first victory on the road at Clemson.
“I feel for Pe’Shon; I also feel for the team,” said Turgeon, a former point guard, earlier this week. “No one expected us to be any good. I thought we were starting to be a lot better than everybody thought we were going to be. We had a chance to win a lot of games down the stretch. We still get to play the games; we still have a chance. It’s just tough; it’s hard. Pe’Shon wasn’t really a true point guard but was doing a heck of a job for us there. It’s hard when you don’t have a true point guard, to figure out how to get things done.”