Obinna Ekezie Out For Season

The University of Maryland lost senior Obinna Ekezie for the remainder of the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered during Tuesday evening's practice.

The school waited to confirm the severity of the injury until results of the MRI were known Wednesday afternoon, hours before Maryland began its game at North Carolina State.

Ekezie stayed behind at the Maryland campus after sustaining the injury during a practice that was closed to the media.

Ekezie, who started 105 of 118 games in his four years at the school, suffered the injury in practice Tuesday night.

Maryland (20-4) is in second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with an 8-3 record, three games behind top-ranked Duke and one ahead of North Carolina.

The 6-foot-10, 262-pound Ekezie, a native of Nigeria, averaged 12.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in 24 games for the Terrapins this season.

After playing poorly in back-to-back conference losses against Wake Forest and Duke, Ekezie was replaced in the starting lineup by 6-8 freshman Lonny Baxter in Saturday's 88-72 win over Virginia.

Baxter had 14 points and five rebounds in 26 minutes and Ekezie came off the bench and contributed eight points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.

Williams had hoped the move would be an impetus for Ekezie to re-establish himself as a more formidable inside presence as he watched Baxter handle his first collegiate start capably with 14 points.

The loss of Ekezie forces Williams to rely further on the underclassmen who made an impact against Virginia -- Baxter, 7-0 center/forward Mike Mardesich, 6-8 guard Danny Miller and 6-7 forward LaRon Cephas.

Ekezie was an honorable mention All-ACC selection as a junior, averaging a career-high 12.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game.

© 1998 CBS SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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