As a byproduct of Braxton Dupree playing all of one minute in the past two games, Jerome Burney had been seeing some increased playing time. But after Gary Williams revealed yesterday that Burney will miss the next 3-6 weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot, those minutes are going to have to go to someone else.
"Well, it gives somebody an opportunity to get some minutes, whether it's Braxton, whether it's Steve Goins, whether it's Jin Soo Kim," Williams said. "Going a little, not height small, but physically a little smaller. That's what it does."
It would seem the best case scenario (Burney misses only three weeks) puts the 6-foot-9, 222-lb. sophomore forward back on the court for the Jan. 3 game against Charlotte. He will have missed four games, all of which are contests the Terps should win regardless of whether they have the added depth that Burney provides or not.
Should Burney miss the full six weeks, he would return around the time of the Jan. 24 game at Duke. By then, the Terps will be four games into ACC play and likely will be able to use another frontcourt body.
Let's not kid ourselves. Burney was not shouldering a huge load on either end of the court, so his abscence will not portend an immediate downfall for Maryland. But he was serviceable and he was one of the more physical of Maryland's frontcourt options off the bench.
For a player like Dupree, the next four games will be critical. He'll likely get another chance to show he can contribute, and if he can't do so against the likes of Bryat and Elon, he probably won't get a whole lot of looks during conference play. Burney was beginning to take advantage of Dupree's benching before the injury occured. Coincidentally, now Dupree will have an opportunity to demonstrate his improvement during Burney's absence from the lineup.
"I think he's trying to figure out what he has to do to get back out on the court," Williams said of Dupree. "With Jerome Burney going down for a while, he's certainly going to get a chance, so a lot will depend on how well he plays in practice. You know, even (Thursday) is an important practice for him for (Friday) night cause we have to get somebody ready to step in if we get into foul trouble or whatever."
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