Maryland couldn't make it out of April before losing a projected starter for part of next season. Left tackle Justin Gilbert, who missed most of last year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, re-aggravated the injury last week. He underwent surgery Thursday, and coach Randy Edsall said he thinks the junior will miss at least the first month of the season.
"He was back out and just got hurt in a non-contact drill, so he's out probably until October," Edsall said. "That's something I feel bad about. I feel bad for Justin. He was really champing at the bit to get out there."
Sophomore Max Garcia will take over the first-team snaps at left tackle and might be the favorite to start the Sept. 5 season opener against Miami.
For Gilbert, it's a harsh development for a player who already lost much of a season to a knee injury.
Gilbert, who played sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 2009, earned the starting job as a sophomore and played well in the first three games. But his left knee buckled as he stepped back into pass protection in the second half of a Sept. 18 game at West Virginia, a non-contact injury that cost him the rest of the season.
Few Terrapins seemed more excited to run onto the Terps' practice facility during the first day of spring workouts than Gilbert, who was getting his first on-field work in more than six months.
Garcia was perhaps the jewel of Maryland's 2010 recruiting class, and the Terps planned to redshirt him last season. However, injuries on the offensive line led Garcia to make appearances in the regular season's penultimate game as well as the Military Bowl defeat of East Carolina.
"I like the ability Max brings to that position," Edsall said. "We've got to get him better technically. He's just got to keep working. He's got the feet and he's got the mental toughness I'm looking for. He's a youngster, but once he starts to master the technique, he's got a really bright future here."
Brown pushing O'Brien: Edsall said sophomore quarterback C.J. Brown is demonstrating improvement - and might even apply some heat to incumbent Danny O'Brien.
"C.J. Brown is putting pressure on Danny," Edsall said. "C.J. Brown is playing really well. I like the things he's doing. I think we're in a good situation. Everyone always needs someone pushing them."
O'Brien was voted the ACC's rookie of the year in 2010, throwing for 2,438 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He started the final 10 games for Maryland.
Brown appeared in one game as a redshirt freshman, throwing one pass against Morgan State. He suffered a broken collarbone and didn't play in the Terps' final 11 games.
"I like the fact we have competition," Edsall said. "Danny will be fine. C.J. is right there as someone who can do things."
Etc.: Junior Justin Anderson, who started every game a season ago at Maryland's old anchor (strong-side end) position, was switched back to defensive end for the final three weeks of spring practice. He began the spring as a reserve defensive tackle. ... Edsall said wide receiver Ronnie Tyler is nursing a sprained ankle. ... Freshman wide receiver Nigel King's NCAA clearinghouse issue has yet to be resolved.
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