For the second consecutive year, Maryland linebacker Kenny Tate will miss part of the season with a knee injury.
Tate injured his left knee in practice last week during a non-contact drill and will be out 3-4 weeks, according to Terps’ head coach Randy Edsall. Edsall said the injury – “some cartilage issues” – should not require surgery.
The senior received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA after he injured his right knee partway through last year and underwent season-ending surgery, missing all but four games. In those four games, he had 35 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
The injury is a big blow to a Maryland defense that sorely missed Tate’s playmaking last year. In 2010, his last full season, he was a consensus first-team All-ACC selection at safety. He’s fourth in career interceptions among active ACC players, and fifth in interceptions.
Sophomore Alex Twine will start in Tate’s spot at linebacker.
Tate is the third Terrapin to go down with a knee injury in preseason although, fortunately, his doesn’t seem to be as severe as the others.
Earlier this week, Terps’ defensive end Andre Monroe had season-ending surgery on his knee after sustaining an injury from a non-contact drill.
“He was just running straight ahead. He was running a sprint and his knee kind of gave out and that was it,” Edsall said.
Monroe, a redshirt sophomore, started four games in 2011 and was expected to be a starter this year.
The first player to fall victim to those dangerous non-contact drills was former starting quarterback C.J. Brown, who was lost for the season when he tore his ACL on August 15th, leaving true freshman Perry Hills in charge of the offense.
Knee injuries aren’t the only ones to affect the Terps’ this season, particularly the Terps’ defense, which was initially expected to be a bright spot for the team.
Defensive end Keith Bowers (undisclosed) and cornerbacks A.J. Hendy (ankle) and Isaac Goins (mono) will be out anywhere from 2-4 more weeks. Safety Matt Robinson is out for at least the first game with a dislocated shoulder but hopes to return by week two.
Junior Justin Anderson will fill in at end with Monroe and Bowers both out. True freshman Sean Davis will start at strong safety until Robinson’s return.
The team has so far appeared to take the string of unusual injuries in stride.
“I think there are some guys who have had the opportunity to step up, and you’ve seen some good things out of them. You just get everybody to believe and understand that hey, they’ve got to be ready to go because in one play they could be in there,” Edsall said.
He may want to reassess those non-contact drills though, before he runs out of players who can step up.