Terrapins Notebook

Henderson Ponders His Pain

By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Erin Henderson knew immediately the back injury he suffered against North Carolina felt terrible. But only yesterday did the Terrapins inside linebacker realize how gruesome the injury really was.

"That looks pretty disgusting," Henderson said after seeing a photo of himself in the university's student newspaper. "I knew it was bad, but it was a good picture of that. I'm going to frame that one."

Indeed, the photograph shows Henderson, with his knees on the ground, lunging at North Carolina running back Johnny White. But when Henderson's face mask got caught in White's thigh pads, the force of the running back's forward motion forced Henderson's back to bend unnaturally, making his body appear much like an archer's bow.

"I was afraid he broke his back," Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen said.

Henderson returned and finished the game. He said yesterday he intends to play this week. But Friedgen said Henderson's status for Saturday's game against No. 8 Boston College is undecided.

"I understand that my team needs me out there, and I want to be there for my teammates as well," said Henderson, who underwent X-rays, which came back negative.

Henderson said he returned against North Carolina with the help of back plaster, which served as a brace for his back, and a muscle-stimulating machine, which helped to keep his back muscles loose.

"They created a back for me, basically," Henderson said.

But when Henderson awoke Sunday morning, his back had stiffened so much he couldn't get out of bed for his typical routine of going to his sister's house to watch their older brother, E.J., play for the Minnesota Vikings on television.

Henderson's malady is the latest in an injury-plagued season. Henderson missed a game against Georgia Tech because of a knee injury. He also has played through a broken thumb and an eye ailment.

Friedgen said Henderson did not participate in the team's walk-through Monday. The linebacker did not practice yesterday either, spending some of the session standing next to Friedgen in a black non-contact jersey.

"You can't really do anything," said Henderson, who leads the Terrapins in tackles (99) and tackles for losses (8 1/2 ). "It's tough. I'm having trouble sitting down, getting up, walking. I haven't even thought of running or doing anything like that."

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