Harry Venezia, one of Maryland's best offensive linemen and a three-year letterman, suffered a strained muscle in his right shoulder yesterday while attempting a school weight-lifting record. Preliminary reports said he would miss five weeks, which includes the first two games.
Venezia, 6 feet 4, 280 pounds, tore ligaments in his left knee last year in practice and missed the last nine games of the season. The coaching staff was optimistic about his return because Venezia, a fifth-year senior, had rehabilitated himself and reported for practice Thursday stronger than ever.
"It was hard to accept being injured last season, when everybody was winning," Venezia said yesterday, his arm in a sling. "I felt like I was an outsider. I was all prepared to feel a part of things this year, and now another injury."
Venezia was the last man at the bench-press station. He had pressed 445 pounds easily, then attempted to set a school record of 470 pounds.
"He had done 445 like it was 300," said Ralph Friedgen, the offensive line coach. "It was doing him a lot of good to have all the players chanting for him to break the record."
It was originally thought Venezia had suffered a torn rotator cuff, but J.J. Bush, the team trainer, said Venezia had strained the pectoralis major muscle. Stanford Lavine, the team physician, will examine Venezia again Monday.
Friedgen has had to rearrange his offensive line. Ron Solt, an preseason all-America at left guard, will move to Venezia's right tackle spot. Shawn Benson, who started several games last year, will move from a reserve capacity to first-team left guard.