Maryland forward Rodney Walker watched the Terrapins practice yesterday with his sprained left ankle propped on a chair and doesn't know if he will be able to play in Thursday's soldout game against North Carolina at Cole Field House.

"We'll take it slow," Coach Bob Wade said yesterday. "We have a few days and we'll just try to get the soreness out."

Saturday's victory over Clemson was Walker's second game, but he left after playing three minutes. Though the Terrapins have not looked to him for much offensively, at 6 feet 9 and 250 pounds, he can clog the middle on defense and give them five more fouls to play with. Freshman center/forward Cedric Lewis is still out of action with mononucleosis, and Wade won't even guess when Lewis might return. At the moment, Dave Dickerson is the only front court substitute.

"We can do some things," said Wade, who used three guards for much of the last game. "We did okay when we were shorthanded {up front} Saturday."

The situation would be worse for Maryland (9-3 overall and 2-0 in the ACC) if the Terrapins were facing a team with many big players, but the Tar Heels (11-1 and 0-0) do not have that many big players themselves.

"We can match up," said Wade. "It's not like last year when they went 6-10, 6-10, 6-9. We can match up even when they go through their rotation and bring {Kevin} Madden in."