Hard-luck Perry hurt on his first play of '02

Shoulder injury stops back after he worked way back from abdomen, groin pain

October 27, 2002|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

DURHAM, N.C. - The beginning of Bruce Perry's first play of the season seemed familiar, with the standout Maryland tailback slicing through the right side of the Duke line yesterday for a 19-yard gain.

But the end of that play was all too familiar. Duke cornerback Brian Greene tackled Perry, who walked off the field. Trainers attended to him, and he found his junior season on hold again after injuring his left shoulder. He will have a magnetic resonance imaging test tomorrow.

"The guy can't catch a break," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "If it's not one thing, it's another."

Even without Perry, the Terrapins (6-2, 2-1 ACC) still rushed for nearly 100 first-half yards in a 45-12 blowout. Coming off a 212-yard rushing effort against Georgia Tech last week, Chris Downs continued to play well (16 carries for 60 yards) and Josh Allen contributed a touchdown.

But Friedgen had hoped that Perry - the Atlantic Coast Conference's Player of the Year last season -could provide extra octane for the Terrapins' offense. Especially with road trips ahead to Clemson and Virginia in the next month, in addition to a home date against North Carolina State on Nov. 9.

So Perry, who hadn't played since the Orange Bowl in January, was designated Maryland's top option at tailback in half of its offensive packages. Without much fanfare - owing to the low turnout of 23,451 at Wallace Wade Stadium - he lined up in the team's single-back set on the first offensive play from scrimmage.

He looked good for all of the run until the end, when his shoulder drove into the ground.

Most specifically, Perry is suffering from a sterno-clavicular injury on his left side, which is a stretching of the area where the breastbone meets the collarbone.

It is not sure when Perry can return to action. He spent the second half in street clothes.

This is the third disabling injury suffered in the past 11 months by Perry, who ran for 1,242 yards last season while also catching 40 passes. The aftereffects of a December abdominal injury caused him to miss spring practice. He tore a groin muscle in August, then re-injured it in September.

In addition to Perry, defensive tackle C.J. Feldheim (right knee) and right offensive tackle Matt Crawford (left knee) will go in for MRI exams tomorrow.

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