Maryland senior quarterback Mark Manges broke his throwing hand Saturday. His spirit is not broken.

"I woke up Sunday morning and told myself, 'It could be worse. It could be raining,'" said Manges. "I opened the window and it was pouring."

A few hours later, he finally became convinced that a broken metacarpal bone is not the end of the world, even for a quarterback in his senior year who had grandiose visions of a super sendoff to the pros.

On television, Manges heard reports of Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw being carted off to a hospital, soon to be followed by Houston's Dan Pastorini. Then came the surgery report on Gifford Neilson of Brigham Young, the nation's leading collegiate passer.

"I was sitting around telling myself, 'It's not that bad. It's not that bad,'" said Manges. "Then those reports on television hit me in the face and I said, 'Hey, it really isn't that bad.'

"Gifford Neilson hurt a knee. He may never be the same. This is only a broken hand. Some people would be happy to put on a cast and be healed.

"These guys have problems worse than I do and they'll cope. For me to wallow in pity wouldn't say much for myself.

"It is disappointing. It's a shock to find out 95 per cent of your body is healthy but you have to sit out four or six weeks. But I'm ready to go and I'll be back. It's that simple, I'm not through here."

Team physician Stanford, Lavine told Manges on Saturday the cast would stay on for three or four weeks, and that recovery would take four to six weeks. Manges is counting on four.

He hopes to be back for the team's last game against Virginia and should definitely play if the Terps go to a postseason bowl.

Manges, mentioned in the preseason as a Heisman Trophy candidate, does not feel the time missed will affect his future in football.

"Give the pros a little credit. Their scouting systems are better than that," said Manges. "Whatever they think of me, they knew before this season."

Bucko Kilroy, head of scouting for the New England Patriots, backed Manges' statement in a telephone interview.

"Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn't. But they've seen more of him than we had seen of (starting tight end) Russ Francis, and he was the 16th player picked," said Kilroy. "Francis missed his entire senior year. Steve Grogan (Patriots quarterback) missed a lot of his senior year with an injured back and it didn't hurt him.

"If they haven't seen enough of him now, they haven't done their homework."

Kilroy said he doesn't like to comment publicly on a prospect prior to the draft, but he did say of Manges, "he picked to make it."

After leading the Terps to an 11-0 regular season record last season, Manges' senior year spelled trouble from double-days, because he missed several practices with a stomach virus.

He injured his toe in a scrimmage and left in the third quarter of Maryland's first game. He missed the second game completely and was rusty against Penn State.

"To have seasons like this back-to-back is quite a contrast," said Manges. "Last year everything went right. I was very optimistic about this year - I couldn't be anything but. This year, everything has turned around.

"I was just getting untracked Saturday."

Manges has completed 31 of 76 passes for 420 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns. He has rushed for a net 13 yards, hardly the statistics of a Heisman Trophy candidate. But quarterbacks coach Jerry Eisaman points out the numbers are misleading.

"In the first game four passes were dropped and two called back on penalities," said Eisaman. "At the NC State game a touchdown pass was dropped and another ruled out of bounds. Our films showed the receiver dragging his foot in the end zone.

"His rushing yardage is misleading because he's been sacked. At times his protection has broken down. Mark has missed a lot of work with that virus and the toe injury, and he's really done a heckuva job."

"This year I haven't been able to improve much," said Manges. "All personal goals, All-ACC or All-American or whatever, have been destroyed. I knew that would depend on how the team went. The team got off to a slow start."

Manges said this is not his most trying time in football.

The most difficult time for me was my sophomore year when I separated my shoulder," said Manges. "I was out seven weeks and it wrecked the whole season.

"I know what it's like to sit out, and it's fun. I found out that you have to have a positive outlook. You're only hurting yourself if you look for sympathy."

Manges will start running at the end of this week and will gradually get back into the routine of quarterback meetings. He is expected to show up around practice time although he can't practice.

"Yes, I'm bored." Manges admitted. "You find a newspaper and read it cover to cover, or bring some books and study.

"It doesn't make me feel like an outsider. You're only alienated if you alienate yourself. The players don't make you feel that way.

"This place is fun. This has been the best part of my life and this doesn't change that. Not playing hurts, but I'm not going to let it affect the rest of my life."

Manges was asked if he was cultivating any new hobbies in his over supply of spare time.

"Yes," he said, "left-handed eating and tooth-brushing."