The Washington Times - December 13, 2008, 10:32AM

It wasn’t anything particularly uncommon for Jerome Burney. He leaped up for a rebounds, grabbed the ball and came down.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Simple as that.

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Except Tuesday during practice, it didn’t unfold quite like that. He went up to clean up the glass. He snared possession. Then he landed, and what happened to his right foot is imprinted in his mind.

“Next thing you know, I felt a crack,” Burney said. “I wasn’t sure what it was exactly until I started walking on it. That’s how it felt when I had a stress fracture two years ago.”

Those are not the sort of memories anyone wants triggered. If you slip on some ice and break a wrist, you’ll probably think twice the next time you scoot across some ice.

So Burney already had reason to pause. But he tried to continue, only to realize his initial reaction was right.

“The more I tried to do on it, the worse it got,” Burney said. “I was like ‘It can’t be.’”

An MRI exam came Wednesday; the news arrived Thursday. It was a stress fracture, and he’ll be out at least three weeks.

The official diagnosis coach Gary Williams provided listed six weeks as the upper end of the time Burney could miss. But foot injuries can be tricky, and it’s not the sort of injury a basketball player can hide.

It’s easy to see Burney understands this. He knows the drill, having gone through it two years ago with his left foot. He’s probably Maryland’s most upbeat player, but another problem with the same part of his body was admitted tough for the sophomore.

“It is, but at the same time it’s something I have to deal with,” Burney said.

Patrick Stevens