- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 30, 2002

The Maryland football program's worst fears were realized yesterday when it learned quarterback Chris Kelley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and could miss the entire 2002 season.
Team physician Leigh Ann Curl examined Kelley and assessed the severity of his injury, sustained in Saturday's Red-White spring game. Dr. Curl will perform corrective surgery in early May once Kelley gains a better range of motion. The damage to Kelley's knee was confined to the ACL and no other parts of the joint were damaged. This is his third major knee injury the other two came on the left knee in the last two years.
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Kelley was the Terps' first-team quarterback coming out of spring practice and was in line to win the starting job when the team reconvenes for camp in August. The injury means redshirt sophomore Scott McBrien, who played in 10 games at West Virginia in 2000 before transferring last season, assumes the starting position. Junior college transfer Orlando Evans becomes second string.
"I am very disappointed for Chris," Terps coach Ralph Friedgen said in a statement. "He has worked so hard over the course of the past year to rehabilitate the injury in his other knee and this setback is a tremendous disappointment. I feel very much for him and hope for the best for a successful recovery."
Kelley, a redshirt sophomore, was hurt on the last play of the first quarter of Saturday's game. He was scrambling out of the pocket when he attempted to make a cut on his right leg. His foot slipped and he was hit almost immediately, resulting in the ACL tear.
Kelley becomes the Terps' third major loss to injury their top returning offensive and defensive players, tailback Bruce Perry and linebacker E.J. Henderson, missed spring practice with abdominal and back injuries, respectively. Henderson had back surgery earlier this month.
The injury to Kelley is another major setback for the team, but more devastating for the quarterback, who had worked diligently to become the Terps' starter after spending much of his first two seasons on the bench.
The quarterback's debut as a starter had been highly anticipated since he completed a legendary high school career at Seneca Valley in the fall of 1999. Kelley, a two-time Maryland Offensive Player of the Year, led Seneca Valley to a 26-0 record and two state titles as a starting quarterback. However, he suffered a tear to his left ACL in a high school all-star game in April of 2000, had surgery and redshirted his freshman year. He re-injured the same ACL in the summer of 2001 and spent the early part of last season rehabilitating. He saw limited action in two games (Duke and Troy State) last season and had a lateral menisectomy performed on his left knee on Feb. 27.
It took him little time to recover from the most recent procedure, but the latest injury will be different. According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the necessary time for complete recovery from an ACL tear ranges from six to eight months depending on the severity of the injury and adherence to a rehabilitation program.
"As far as a timetable is concerned for Chris and his recovery, we are not thinking about that right now," Friedgen said. "It is my hope that, for the time being, he can concentrate on his academics and ultimately be successful in rehabilitating his knee as he did before."
It is possible Kelley could return for part of the season but considering the time and repetitions he will miss, McBrien and Evans likely will have had enough time to make up the ground that separated them from Kelley this spring.
Maryland's fall practice begins in mid-August. The Terps open the season in the Kickoff Classic Aug. 31 against Notre Dame at East Rutherford, N.J.

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