Guard Dion Wiley will miss the Maryland basketball season after having surgery to repair torn meniscus in his right knee on Tuesday morning, the school announced.
The sophomore, who was expected to start the team’s opener on Friday night against Mount St. Mary’s, was injured during Thursday’s practice. An MRI exam revealed the injury, although the team wasn’t sure of the prognosis until after he had surgery in Baltimore on Tuesday morning. Wiley is expected to redshirt this season, meaning he will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning next year.
Wiley had made considerable strides this offseason, which came after a freshman season in which he displayed both brilliant potential and shaky confidence at times. During the summer, Wiley slimmed down considerably and had polished both his offensive and defensive game well enough to earn the starting shooting guard position ahead of the season opener.
A former Washington Post All-Met who starred at Potomac, Wiley has dealt with knee issues before. He missed time on the A.A.U. circuit during his senior year of high school because of swelling in his knees, which he labeled at the time as “jumper’s knees.” He remained relatively healthy during his freshman season in College Park, where he improved his conditioning as the season progressed. Wiley appeared in all 35 games as a freshman last season, averaging 4.1 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
While the loss serves as a major blow to Maryland’s back-court depth, the Terrapins still have plenty of options to compensate for Wiley’s absence. The move will likely require more minutes at shooting guard from sophomore Jared Nickens, the 6-foot-7 sharpshooter who played mostly small forward last season. Nickens established himself as primarily a three-point specialist — of his 188 attempts, 146 were from beyond the arc — but will have to show an expanded game on both ends of the floor at the shooting guard position.
Nickens started the team’s 91-55 exhibition win over Southern New Hampshire on Friday, while Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon came off the bench and played both point guard and shooting guard. Sulaimon flourished in the sixth-man role, showing command of Maryland’s offensive system and finishing with five points, seven rebounds and three assists. The loss of Wiley could also lead to more minutes for junior college transfer Jaylen Brantley, although the most pressing matter on Tuesday was Wiley’s surgery and the beginning of a long road to recovery.
“I am really disappointed for Dion because he worked so hard in the offseason and was playing at a very high level,” Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon said in a news release. “This is a big loss for our team as Dion was expected to be our starting shooting guard. Our doctors were encouraged about the surgery, and we know that Dion will work tirelessly to return to the court.”