The Washington Times - April 16, 2009, 04:36PM

A bit of lacrosse news for this Thursday afternoon: Junior defenseman Brian Farrell will redshirt for Maryland this season, a school spokesman confirmed today.

Farrell played in the first three games, but some cracked ribs that forced him into a late-February hospital visit has sidelined him ever since. He still hasn’t been cleared for contact, and coach Dave Cottle said last week Farrell would redshirt if he wasn’t ready to go for the April 24-26 ACC tournament.

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That seemed unlikely to occur. And the reality is, it’s a smart decision for the No. 14 Terrapins (7-5), who visit Penn on Saturday.

Farrell might have been able to return for the postseason, but he wasn’t going to be in game condition if he did make it back. And even then, it might be for only one or two games.

While he is nominally a defenseman, the reality is Farrell’s greatest value lies in his work as a faceoff wing and as a transition-starter. Few folks carrying a long pole possess his combination of stick skills and speed, and Maryland is better off with having him for two more years rather than one year and one month.

The Terps haven’t been quite as good as expected this year, and Farrell’s absence isn’t the sole factor for that. But it is a reason, and it should be remembered when fully evaluating Maryland this season.

Patrick Stevens