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Terps' Crummey ready to return

November 17, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Andrew Crummey has been watching a lot of college football on Saturdays.

Most guys wouldn't be too upset with that, but for Crummey, it's an issue.

That's because he's used to playing on Saturdays.

For the last five games, the University of Maryland offensive guard has spent his time standing on the sideline with his arms crossed while waiting for a broken leg to heal.

Crummey, who entered the season as one of the cornerstones of the Terps' offensive line, may get his chance to resume that position today against Florida State if everything finally falls into place.

"It's all been tough," the senior said of his forced inactivity. "When you are constantly in games and then relegated to watch, it's tough. When you're standing there and you see things and think you can do it well, you really want to be in there."

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Crummey didn't get taken out of the lineup by choice. The 6-foot-5, 301-pound senior was in for 15 plays against Georgia Tech on Oct. 6 before he found himself laying on his back with a broken left fibula.

The diagnosis gave him a chance to be back in 6-to-8 weeks for the end of his senior year. The return date has been edging up, making this week's game a possibility.

"It's been a smooth road back to this point," Crummey said. "I didn't have to have surgery, so it's just been rehab. When I didn't have surgery, (next week's) N.C. State game was brought up. As I started making progress, the Florida State (game) was mentioned. I wasn't sure. But I see myself going this week, but we have to wait and see."

Crummey had his first workouts in pads with the Terps since the injury on Monday. Tuesday's practice a big test to see how he looked and felt in actual drills.

"It felt great to work out in pads and not in a sweatshirt (on Monday). It was great to be in the huddle again," Crummey said. "The test will be when I have to hit against our No. 1 defense and see if I have the speed back."

Crummey entered the season rated as one of the top linemen in the nation and was on the Lombardi and Outland Trophy watch lists. He was part of a veteran Maryland line, which was going to be counted on to help protect a young, inexperienced quarterback.

Instead, Crummey's injury was one of the first of may to haunt the Terps this season. Maryland lost four of their five experienced linemen in a four-week period. Heaped together with other key injuries, the Terps slid from 4-2 to 4-5 until last week's win over Boston College stopped the freefall.

"We had a lot of experience," Crummey said. "I've sat there with Jaimie (Thomas, Maryland's other injured guard) and talked about the way things could have been. It's been tough. It's easy to point to the injuries to why we struggled. It's just one of the reasons and that's why it hurts."

Crummey did his best to stay a part of the Terps while coming back from the injury. He has acted as a counsel for the linemen, trying to help them see things in games from watching on the sideline. Coach Ralph Friedgen allowed him to stay with the team on Friday night. He wanted to go along to help pump the players up for the Boston College game ... and it worked.

Now it's time to get back out there, at least for two games - three if Maryland can make it to a bowl game. Crummey admits there will be some initial apprehension, wondering how he and the leg will react to game situations.

"Anytime you have an injury, you expect to experience more pain," he said. "You do more and more and you get by it and then you get more excited than fear. The decision to come back and play will be made during the course of the week."

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