- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2002

Bruce Perry's comeback likely will be pushed back again.

Maryland's star tailback has been sore since participating in Monday night's practice, and he probably will miss Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan. The returning ACC offensive player of the year did not practice on Tuesday and was limited yesterday. He is now expected to return for the Sept.28 game against Wofford.

Perry had been on track to return this week after missing the first three games of the season with a torn left groin muscle.

"[Doctors] said if it doesn't get better, he won't play this week," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "Maybe he overdid it a little bit Monday [in practice]. His other leg was sore, which is his right leg."

Perry has been sidelined since Aug.20. He woke up sore Tuesday morning and the discomfort may have been caused by favoring his stronger leg and putting too much pressure on it in practice the night before. Friedgen called the fourth-year junior's status "doubtful," preferring to take a cautious route and ease the 5-foot-9, 196-pound Perry back into action. The latest setback is expected to be short-term.

Perry's likely absence means Chris Downs will start when the Terrapins (1-2) play Eastern Michigan (1-2) at Byrd Stadium. Downs has been a pleasant surprise since starting the first game of his Terps career Sept.7 against Akron. The fifth-year senior also started last week and had 50 rushing yards with a touchdown on 12 carries along with 33 yards on five catches in the 37-10 loss to fifth-ranked Florida State. Downs had a 61-yard touchdown run up the left sideline negated by an illegal block on the other side of the field.

"There were some hits being passed out and he stood right in there," said Friedgen, who had promoted Downs from special teams. "He showed me a lot. He was running away from them. If you can run away from Florida State, you can run."

In other news, Friedgen said Scott McBrien holds the edge over Chris Kelley to start at quarterback against the Eagles. McBrien has been the starter for all three of the Terps' games this season. The left-handed junior was ineffective in losses to Notre Dame and Florida State, but had a strong game against Akron. Receiver Danny Melendez has been moved up to second team because of Derrick Fenner's broken ankle. Melendez is the second true freshman wideout who will play, joining Jo Jo Walker.

The Terps could be without All-ACC offensive lineman Todd Wike, who missed practice yesterday and has been suffering from headaches after getting a concussion against Florida State. Linebacker Leroy Ambush and defensive tackle Randy Starks also suffered concussions in that game, but should play. The rash of concussions six this season concerns Friedgen. The coach plans to investigate helmets to see if they can be made safer.

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