- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Maryland’s short-handed basketball team will look significantly different in a few weeks when Alex Len returns from suspension and Pe’Shon Howard works his way back from a broken foot.

With the Terrapins’ schedule growing less hectic around the school’s final exam period, there is time to tinker in practice for both the present and the near future.

That means finding ways to work Len into situations with Maryland’s regulars and continuing to think about how Howard will change things in the Terps’ backcourt.

“We’re going to be a complete team then, when we have all the guys back on the court,” guard Sean Mosley said. “Adding Pe’Shon and Alex to the mix is definitely going to help us out tremendously. We’re playing OK right now, and I think once we get those two guys back, we’ll have more minutes for guys to sit down and allow our bench to play more of a factor.”

Of course, there are still two games for Maryland (5-3) to play before Len comes back from his NCAA-mandated suspension, including Wednesday’s date with Florida International (3-6) at Comcast Center.

Howard’s return date is less certain, and because of his injury he might not immediately make the same impact as was anticipated in the preseason, when he worked as the starting point guard.

Either way, coach Mark Turgeon has to consider winning now and preparing to win later.

“That’s the delicate part for me,” Turgeon said. “I don’t think our guys even know what I’m doing. We’re going to have seven scholarship guys tomorrow night. The Florida International team is a really tough game for us, and we have to figure out a way to play well. I think our guys think I’m doing the normal stuff, preparing and trying to make our team better.”

Howard is out of his walking boot and is wearing an orthotic in his left shoe. He’s participated in shooting work and a few fast-break drills, though nothing live. Turgeon said the sophomore ran on a treadmill for 45 minutes Sunday and remains pain-free.

Measuring Len’s progress and ability to slide into the Terps’ frontcourt is less subtle. Turgeon has subbed him into Maryland’s first team, often sliding Ashton Pankey or Berend Weijs to allow the 7-foot-1 freshman some acclimation as his debut date approaches.

In spite of the balancing act, it is tough for the Terps to fully simulate what sort of impact Len’s availability (as well as Howard’s) initially will have on the team’s performance.

“It definitely will be an adjustment with Alex coming back,” guard Nick Faust said. “We have to get him more involved in practice. With him coming back, he definitely is a threat to help our team in every possible way.”

NOTES: Guard Terrell Stoglin missed practice Friday and Saturday with an ankle injury suffered in the second half last week against Mount St. Mary’s. Turgeon said Stoglin was at about 80 percent during the Terps’ practice Monday.

“I expect him to [play],” Turgeon said. “This is new to me. I’ve coached Terrell eight games and 35 practices, or whatever. The competitor I know he is, I just hope he’s 100 percent.”

• Wednesday’s game will tip off at 7:30 p.m., a change from the Terps’ original schedule.

• Maryland won the only meeting between the schools, a 117-70 rout early in the 1997-98 season. The Terps are 5-0 against current members of the Sun Belt.

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