Neill Lewnes missed UMBC’s last six contests, but the senior-to-be is on pace to return to the team perhaps as early as fall workouts.
The short-stick defensive midfielder tore the anterior cruciate ligament in a knee in the Retrievers’ 16-12 victory over Hartford on March 31. The Arnold native and St. Mary’s graduate sat out the remainder of the season, but his rehabilitation has been going well, according to coach Don Zimmerman.
“He looks good,” he said of Lewnes. “He’s getting around well. The doctors say he’s ahead of schedule. He’s a tough, hard-working kid, and if anybody can get through this, it will be him. We expect him to be back and healthy and ready to go – if not in the fall, then certainly in the spring.”
Lewnes had recorded 30 groundballs and nine caused turnovers in seven games before suffering the season-ending injury. But more than his personal numbers, Lewnes’ leadership was sorely missed.
“From a playing standpoint, his was a tough loss, but also as far as leadership and leading by example and being scrappy and setting the tone for the team, that certainly hurt us as well,” Zimmerman said. “But those things happen, and when they do happen, you feel bad for the kid, but expect other guys to step up. I thought some guys did. Tough shoes to fill, but hopefully, we’ll have Neill back next year at full strength and the guys that stepped in have gotten more experience. That should make us stronger and deeper at that position.”