Maryland's 6-5 loss to Notre Dame in Friday's Atlantic Coast Conference semifinals was made worse by an ankle injury suffered by senior attackman Mike Chanenchuk.
Chanenchuk, the No. 7 Terps' leader in goals (28) and assists (16), was shut out in that game, ending a streak of 35 straight contests with at least a point. But of greater concern was his health for the remainder of the season.
Terps coach John Tillman described Chanenchuk’s injury as “not bad.”
“He got some treatment over the weekend,” Tillman said during his weekly conference call on Tuesday morning. “Typically Mondays, Michael doesn’t practice anyway. It’s been that way for a couple years now. … He’s making good progress. So we’ll take it day by day. I’m optimistic at this point, but we’ll take a look again and see how he feels and we’ll kind of go from there.”
Maryland (10-3) has Saturday’s regular-season finale against Navy (4-9) before diving into the NCAA tournament, and the sense is that the Terps will gain a top-eight seed and a home date in the first round regardless of Saturday’s outcome.
Tillman acknowledged that deactivating Chanenchuk for that game is a consideration.
“If it comes down to it where we would be putting him in a position where we would be hurting him or his play wouldn’t be to the level to [help] the team, we’d have to rest him,” Tillman said. “Sometimes that’s very hard to explain to a young guy. We’re all brought up to try to push through things and be tough. There is certainly an element of mental and physical toughness, but you also want to have the mindset of what’s best for the team, and sometimes a player at 50 or 75 percent isn’t better than the next guy, and that falls upon the coach to make that decision. If Michael can go and he’s going to help the team and we feel like that’s the best thing, then that’s what we’re going to do. If Michael wasn’t 100 percent and we run the risk of making it worse and the team is not going to play as well, we owe it to the team to sit him.”
If Chanenchuk can’t play, junior Jay Carlson (19 goals and four assists) or freshman Tim Rotanz (3, 3) could join freshmen Matt Rambo (24, 5) and Connor Cannizzaro (19, 6) as starting attackmen.