Center/forward Derrick Lewis has been held out of University of Maryland basketball practices so far this fall because of concerns about his high blood pressure, school officials said yesterday. But indications are that Lewis, who led the Terrapins in scoring and rebounding last year, probably will be cleared to play this season, possibly sometime next week.
Maryland Coach Bob Wade would say only that "Derrick is under a doctor's care. We were told to hold him off the court and not to allow him to participate in the activities. When the doctor says okay to practice, he will practice."
Lewis has attended Terrapins practices, but is limited to bouncing a ball and shooting an occasional free throw. After yesterday's practice, Lewis ran off the court and would not stop to answer questions.
The 6-foot-7 Lewis, from Temple Hills, has had the condition since he arrived on campus as a freshman.
"We've known about it since his first season," said Chuck Sturtz, who was Maryland's interim athletic director before returning to his post as vice chancellor for administrative affairs. "We paid close attention. He had been on a maintenance program and there was continuous monitoring."
Lewis' condition apparently has worsened enough that university officials want to make sure it is under control before allowing him to play, according to a report in Friday's Baltimore Sun.
"The doctors said they didn't want Derrick to play right now," Athletic Director Lew Perkins said.
Indications are that Chancellor John B. Slaughter will make the final decision when he receives a report from doctors, though Slaughter declined to comment on the situation.
If Lewis was to miss this season, it would be quite a blow to the young Terrapins, who are hoping to improve on their 0-14 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season.
The Terrapins will scrimmage in Cole Field House today following the football game between Maryland and North Carolina at Byrd Stadium.