Maryland receiver Diggs could be lost for season
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Maryland already knew it would be without suspended wide receiver Stefon Diggs on Saturday night against No. 12 Michigan State.
Now the Terrapins face the possibility of losing their standout playmaker for the rest of the season.
Diggs lacerated his kidney in a game against Penn State on Nov. 1. His availability beyond this week is up in the air, but Maryland is prepared to go on without him.
''We're definitely going to miss him,'' offensive tackle Mike Dunn said Tuesday.
Before the injury became apparent, the Big Ten handed Diggs a one-game suspension for his part in a pregame skirmish involving the Terrapins and Nittany Lions.
During the scuffle, Diggs made contact with a referee who was trying to separate the players. The Big Ten suspended the junior for violating the conference's ''sportsmanship policy.''
Diggs' status on Saturday night is clear: He can't play. His availability beyond that is not nearly as evident.
In his weekly session with reporters on Tuesday, Maryland coach Randy Edsall said, ''I don't comment on injuries. Stefon is suspended for this game. We'll move forward next week.''
Diggs leads Maryland (6-3, 3-2) with 52 catches for 654 yards. He's scored five touchdowns, is averaging 24 yards per kickoff return and is a big reason why the Terrapins are bowl eligible with three games left in the regular season - Michigan State (7-2, 4-1), Michigan and Rutgers.
''We're in pretty good shape right now,'' Edsall said. ''What we've got to do is enhance where we are.''
This isn't the first time Maryland has been forced to adjust to playing without Diggs. Last year, he missed the final six games with a broken leg.
With Diggs out, quarterback C.J. Brown will rely more heavily on the running game and find other options for his passes. Jacquille Veii, who has six catches for 108 yards, will replace Diggs against Michigan State.
''It (stinks) that we're not going to have a great player such as Stefon,'' Dunn said, ''but the people filling in for him are just as capable.''
Veii, Deon Long, Marcus Leak and Amba Etta-Tawo are among the options.
''Remains to be seen what they are without Stefon Diggs, but I do think that Leak is a very good player,'' Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. ''Long has become a go-to guy for them.''
It's next man up for the Terrapins - again.
''We've been through all this before. We didn't have (Diggs) last year for a few games,'' Edsall said. ''When somebody is not out there, it just gives somebody else an opportunity to step up and show what they can do.''
Few can do it with the style and grace of Diggs, whose speed and deft moves benefit him both as a wide receiver and kickoff returner.
''I feel bad for him, but at the same time we have other guys who need to step up,'' Brown said. ''That's the beauty of having depth, guys who have experience. The offense isn't going to change too much.''
Brown, a sixth-year senior in his final season, resisted the urge to consider the possibility he might have thrown his last pass to Diggs.
''I haven't really sat back and thought about it yet,'' Brown said. ''I don't really know the situation too much. But at the same time, he's a very gifted athlete, he's a special guy, and I know he'll be on the sideline cheering for us.''