Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah, Maryland's record-setting hurdler, suffered a mild sprain on his left ankle while training Thursday and will not run in the U.S. Olympic Invitational Track and Field Meet here Saturday night.

A Maryland spokesman said Nehemiah hurt himself while training on the university's golf course and will be out of competition for about two weeks.

Nehemiah is expected to return to competition for the Milrose Games in New York Feb. 8.

Nehemiah's absence also will postpone his first race against his idol, Rod Milburn, the 1972 Olympic champion and the dominant hurdler in the world in the early 1970s. Milburn recently regained his U.S. amateur standing after running as a professional.

Perhaps the most intriguing event of the New York meet will be the duel between Franklin Jacobs and Dwight Stones in the high jump.

Jacobs holds the American indoor record at 7-7-1/4, is ranked as the nation's top high jumper and is gunning for his third consecutive meet victory. n

Stones, the former world indoor and outdoor record holder, is seeking to regain his No. 1 status after a one-year absence from competition because of a suspension. He was the meet champion from 1974 through 1976.

In their only meeting this year, Jacobs outdueled Stones, clearing 7-5-1/2. Stones jumped 7-4-1/4.

In another interesting pairing, John Smith, the world quarter-mile record holder who also is on the comeback trail -- he had not raced as an amateur since 1973 before winning at Long Beach Jan. 5 -- will be matched against National AAU champion Willie Smith, no relation, in the 400-meter dash.

In the pole vault, Dan Ripley, the indoor record holder, will face Mike Tully, the former record holder, and Earl Bell, the former outdoor record holder.

Don Paige, the American indoor record holder, will oppose his former Villanova teammate, Mark Belger, in the 1,000 meters. They have met only once, with Paige ending Belger's 20-race indoor winning streak last year.

Ireland's Eamonn Coghlan, the indoor mile record holder, will be challeged by South African Sydney Maree of Villanova in the 1,500, and the nation's top three woman sprinters -- Evelyn Ashford, Brenda Morehead and Chandra Chesseborough -- are entered in the 55-meter dash.

Other top entries include Curtis Dickey (men's 55), James Robinson (800), Dick Buerkle (3,000), Candy Young (women's hurdles) and Francie Larrrieu (women's 1,500).

The meet will be nationally televised by NBC Sunday from 3:30 until 5 p.m. 5 p.m.