James Milling, the leading receiver for Maryland's football team last season, will miss the Terrapins' season opener Saturday night at Syracuse because of a fractured left ring finger.

A fifth-year senior from Temple Hills, Milling had 33 catches for 650 yards (19.7-yard average) and six touchdowns for the Terrapins last season. He would have started against the Orangemen.

Milling also might miss next week's home opener against Virginia, according to trainer J.J. Bush. "We think he may miss the Virginia game, but the chances of him playing against West Virginia {Sept. 19} are pretty good," Bush said.

, who would have played quite a bit anyway, will start in Milling's place. Ra'oof, who had 60 catches in his first two seasons, is coming off a ruptured Achilles' tendon, suffered in the fourth game last year.

"We're all going to play," Ra'oof said. "We're all capable of making big plays. Now, with James out, we'll each just have to make more of them."

Milling was injured while trying to throw a block in Saturday's practice. "I hit it on the guy's shoulder pad," he said. "Then I looked down at the finger and it was in all sorts of directions."

Bush said Milling was fortunate he didn't splinter the bone more severely.

"If it was real bad, he would've needed pins to keep it from shattering," Bush said. "But that didn't happen, and the fracture was very stable. So we'll just wait for the bone to heal. Normally it heals pretty good in 10 days to two weeks, so it may heal enough to let him play {against Virginia}."

"It looked nasty, but once they set it, it didn't hurt," Milling said. "This is the first bone I ever broke. Two-a-days were over and we were getting to preparation week. I was pretty depressed when it happened, but I'll only miss a game or two at the most. By then I will be very ready to play."

The Terrapins' receiving corps is deep. Vernon Joines will start at the other wide receiver spot, but fifth-year senior John Bonato of Annandale and redshirt freshman Barry Johnson of Vienna also will play a lot.

"When somebody goes down, all you can do is go on," quarterback Dan Henning said. "I'd like to think we don't miss a beat, but James is a great player and we will miss the depth."