Suter runs with decision to play through pain

MARYLAND NOTEBOOK

Jackson deals with loss of role-model grandfather

Maryland notebook

College Football

October 08, 2003|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Even on good days, Steve Suter can feel like his body has betrayed him.

For starters, there are the six pins in his hand that will remain there forever from the time he broke his finger. He had to relearn how to catch when he first broke it, and he still can't bend it all the way.

Then there's the hamstring he tore this preseason, which is still not completely healed. When you've made a career out of running away from everyone, nothing is as frustrating as watching them run with you.

And of course, there are his knees. He's had four operations on them already, and it looked like he would need a fifth after tearing cartilage in his left knee against Eastern Michigan. But Suter finally decided he was drawing the line somewhere. And it was right here. No more surgery. Not on this knee.

"I don't like doing the whole surgery thing," Suter said. "I think I'm just going to try and gut it out. This would have been my fifth surgery in four years, so I think I'll just try and play through it. I can't do any more damage."

Though he didn't mention it to anyone at the time, Suter said he thinks he first hurt his knee during the preseason. It didn't tear all the way until the Eastern Michigan game, but there was definitely something not right back in August.

"I think my hamstring injury was kind of a blessing in that regard," Suter said. "It let the knee heal up a little bit. ... I think it also helped me to see some things from the sideline that I normally wouldn't see."

So far, the results have been good. Suter snagged a 25-yard touchdown pass against Clemson, his first of the season, and had only some soreness and swelling the next day. Unless the pain becomes too much to take, he'll play through it the rest of the season.

"It's always frustrating when you're not 100 percent and you can't really show the coaches and the players what you're capable of," Suter said. "Maybe you have a ball you would normally catch that you couldn't quite reach. But you just play through it."

Jackson's `roller coaster'

Saturday's win over Clemson wrapped up an emotional week for linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who flew home to Florida Wednesday night to attend the funeral of his grandfather, Luther Thompson, who died of complications from a lifelong battle with sickle cell anemia. Jackson flew back Friday, then led the Terps in tackles the next day with nine.

"It was a roller coaster," Jackson said. "My grandfather was an amazing man. If there is one person I could model my life after, it would be him. He never had a drink in his life, he never cursed, and he never did anything bad. He's the kind of person who if he knew the grandkids were coming over, and he was sick, he'd pretend nothing was wrong. He was an amazing man."

Praise for Duke's Roof

Duke's defense this season is giving up 370.4 yards a game, but Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen says he's not about to take the Blue Devils lightly. One reason is he's facing an old friend. Duke's defensive coordinator, Ted Roof, coached at Georgia Tech with Friedgen.

"I think Ted's an exceptional good person," Friedgen said. "He's a very, very competitive individual, whether you're playing golf with him or whatever. He's a good friend and I think he's done a tremendous job at Duke."

Et cetera

Sam Maldonado practiced yesterday for the first time since being suspended for violating team rules two weeks ago. Friedgen declined to say whether he'll play this week. ... Maryland still does not have a fumble recovery this season, and is ranked second to last in the conference in total turnovers with six. The Terps are the only team in the league without a fumble recovery this year. ... Over the past three games, Scott McBrien has completed 42 of 71 passes for 666 yards and five touchdowns, giving him a passing efficiency rating of 158.37.

Next for Terps

Matchup: Duke (2-3, 0-2) vs. Maryland (4-2, 1-1)

Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)

Line: Maryland by 27

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