Devonte Campbell invested a month recovering from a medial collateral ligament tear suffered during camp.
He made a new friend in the process: An exercise bike set up alongside Maryland's practice fields.
OK, that's not entirely accurate. But the sophomore tight end spent enough time on the bike he gave it a name.
"I forget what I named it," Campbell said. "It was something crazy, like Shirley or something."
Shirley --- or whatever he wound up calling it --- is in the past. Campbell is finally healthy and ready to contribute when Maryland (4-1, 1-0 ACC) visits Clemson (2-3, 0-2) on Saturday.
It will be Campbell's season debut, and it comes at a crucial time both in the Terrapins' season and also for their tight end corps.
Both Campbell and Will Yeatman missed time in the first five weeks because of injuries, and redshirt freshman Dave Stinebaugh stepped into the void of playing time. But Stinebaugh suffered his own MCL tear, and he's expected to miss the next five weeks.
That could mean some sort of playing time already for Campbell, who emerged as a viable tight end option late last season. He had five catches for 14 yards while starting the last four games in 2009, and will join Yeatman and Matt Furstenburg in Maryland's tight end rotation.
"We hope so," offensive coordinator James Franklin said. "Again, you''re talking about a guy who hasn't played. so I don't expect him to play 60 plays, but he will have a role."
And really, that's all Campbell really wants at this stage.
He was the third of four tight ends to miss some time during camp, suffering his MCL injury a week after practice started. Lansford Watson was already done for the year with an ACL tear, and Yeatman broke an index finger a few days into camp. Ryan Schlothauer later dealt with nagging injuries.
"it's very interesting to say the least," Campbell said. "It's almost like we're doomed to only have two or three in practice. I think it's just making us tougher as a unit. I think it will wind up working out good for us in the long run. It's getting a lot of guys reps. It's putting us all in situations we probably wouldn't have been in."
Campbell's new situation, it turned out, was spending more time on an exercise bike than he ever could have imagined. It comes as little surprise a guy with a quirky but highly amusing sense of humor would not only help pass the time by naming his immobile ride, but also would relay the tale.
"I had my own personal little station, where it was 'OK, no one's using this bike, this is my bike, this is where I'm going to be three-fourths of the practice. That's my exclusive bike,'" Campbell said. "I was getting a little bit too intimate with it. I actually had a bike workout that killed me one day. It was pretty insane."
Eventually, Campbell returned, and he was expected to play by late September. But he suffered a shoulder injury just after resuming practice to delay his season debut by a few games.
That first appearance is finally upon him this week, and he finds himself as refreshed as anyone on the roster.
"it's made me more humble," Campbell said. "I look back on it and I kind of had a lot of expectations, but nothing's really guaranteed. [It] pretty much humbled me. I'm anxious to be out there and glad to be at practice. I'm pretty much glad to be out there with the guys. It really rejuvenated my game and changed my attitude in its entirety because before then, it was just go out there, get the job done and go home. Now it's like a whole new enjoyment, a whole new [appreciation that] you could really not be here. It really pushes you to go harder in practice."
The oddity of the year isn't lost on Campbell, who realizes Maryland probably won't play in front of a larger crowd in 2010 than the one it will encounter in Death Valley. It's the latest step in a "loopy season," one that is finally getting underway in mid-October.
And Shirley --- or whatever her name is --- won't be around for the festivities. Not that Campbell is enduring any separation anxiety.
"Oh, no," Campbell said with a grin. "Not at all. Not at all."
It turns out breaking up isn't hard to do after all.