According to Coach Mark Turgeon, who confirmed the injury shortly before the Terrapins departed for Durham, N.C., for their game against No. 10 Duke on Saturday, Howard will undergo surgery on his knee in the next weeks. The recovery could take six months.
Howard’s loss represents a major setback for the Terrapins (14-9, 4-5), who have scrapped and hustled all season long with a short-handed, largely inexperienced roster.
Howard missed the first nine games of the season after suffering a stress fracture in his left foot in late October, but worked hard on his rehabilitation to rejoin the Terrapins for their game against Radford on Dec. 23 — roughly four weeks before doctors projected he could return.
While Howard’s broken foot healed, Turgeon shifted point guard duties to freshman Nick Faust and then shooting guard Terrell Stoglin. Before boarding the team bus Friday, Turgeon said he was still in the process of absorbing the news of Howard’s injury, which was confirmed by an MRI exam late Friday, and figuring out how to adjust his lineup. But it’s likely that Stoglin, the ACC’s leading scorer, will start at point guard against Duke and Faust will shift to the No. 2 guard.
In 14 games for the Terrapins this season, Howard averaged 6.5 points, led the team with 52 assists (3.7 per game) and was its most active defender.