The University of Maryland football team received a setback yesterday when tailback George Scott, the Terrapins' leading rusher last year, was declared out for the season with a leg injury.

Scott, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior, will undergo surgery Monday to remove a lesion of the tibia (shin bone) in his right leg.

Dr. Stanford Levine, the team physician, said he would "remove the lesion to steady it, and Scott will be in a cast for six weeks and out for the season."

Scott said he first noticed a knot, along with occasional pain in his leg, early this summer while jogging and working out in preparation for the opening of practice.

"I started to get a throbbing sensation each time I got up on my toes," Scott said. "I thought it may be just a shin splint and would go away. I stopped running on it at the doctor's advice. When I reported for practice and started to run sprints the leg would go out on me occasionally.

"Dr. Levine said it was probably calcium deposits built up," Scott continued. "But up until I found out I needed an operation, I still thought I could play."

The loss of the hard-running tailback left much of the burden of the Maryland running attack on seniors Steve Atkins and Alvin Maddox.

"I was shocked when I heard George would be out," said Maddox, who was replaced in the backfield by Scott after suffering an ankle injury two years ago.

"Our offense calls for three tailbacks," Maddox said. Without Scott, there will be a lot of pressure on the other two Maddox said.

"David Dixon, a sophomore, will help a lot. George was coming off a big year and definitely looking forward to an even better season. I know he has to be hurt."

Originally a fullback, Scott was moved to tailback when Atkins and Maddox were hurt. Scott eventually led the team in rushing with 894 yards, and scored six touchdowns.

Scott gained 581 yards in his final three games against Villanova, Richmond and Virginia. His 237 yards on 42 carries in the Villanova game established new Maryland single-game rushing and yardage records.

Scott totaled 369 yards on 82 carries his freshman year. He also picked up 47 yards in the 1977 Cotton Bowl loss to Houston (30-21) and 75 yards in the Hall of Fame Classic victory over Minnesota last year (17-7).

Scott's 894-yard total ranks as the fifth best by a Terrapin in a season.

"We're definitely going to miss him," said Coach Jerry Claiborne. "He did an outstanding job for us the last two years. We lost Maddox and Atkins in the past, and Scott stepped in for them. Now they'll have to take up the slack for him. These things happen. We've just lost a good football player."