University of Miami coach Manny Diaz said striker Romeo Finley and running back Lorenzo Lingard were back at practice Wednesday, three days before the Hurricanes meet Central Michigan at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Diaz confirmed Lingard has been cleared to play for UM (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) Saturday against the Chippewas (2-1, 1-0 Mid-Atlantic Conference).
Sophomore receiver Mark Pope, who sustained what appeared to be a left ankle/foot injury in the second half of last Saturday’s UM victory over Bethune-Cookman, did not practice.
“Pope, we’re still hopeful,’’ Diaz said. “Pope will probably be a game-time decision.”
Finley sustained an undisclosed injury in the second half of the victory against Bethune-Cookman.
Lingard, who has not played since sustaining a season-ending knee injury during an October 2018 practice, was hurt (undisclosed) in practice Sept. 11, Diaz previously told reporters, adding after the BC-U game that he was “fine.”
When asked Wednesday if Lingard went through concussion protocol, the coach said, “We can’t talk about specifics of injuries like that. But like I said, it’s good to see him back running around out there today. He was on the field today.“
“Did Finley, Lingard or Pope — did any of them practice?” Diaz was asked specifically.
“Yeah,’’ Diaz responded. “Finley and Lingard were out on the field today.
Also out participating in part of practice Wednesday was defensive tackle Nesta Silvera and linebacker Pat Joyner. Silvera sustained a right foot injury in late July and underwent surgery in early August.
“Yeah, you know what, the news and outlook has all been good on him,’’ Diaz said of Silvera. “I don’t have a date, like this will be the day for sure that he’ll be back. But actually Nesta and [linebacker] Pat Joyner both joined the team for flex today. So that’s all the running, going back and forth and rolls and things like that.
“He’s starting to get excited that it’s not too far off.’’
Added Diaz: “Everything has been very positive, putting in hard work days. The mood is, it’s Wednesday and it’s hard and it’s designed to be hard. The only thing we can do this week is beat Central Michigan. That’s the only thing we can accomplish.’’
DIAZ GETS GAME BALL
Diaz was presented the game ball by his players after the victory, and he said he’s still trying to figure out where to put it.
“They did hand me the ball after the game,’’ Diaz said. “So that was pretty cool.’’
Linebacker Shaq Quarterman was asked what that was like.
“You know, giving Coach the game ball for his first win as a head coach, seeing him almost... That was powerful for us. He does so much. He cares about this program like no other.’’
NO PICKS FOR WILLIAMS
Jarren Williams, who was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Week on Monday, ranks 12th nationally in completion percentage and has not thrown an interception in his first three starts.
“I’ve never really thrown a lot of interceptions,’’ he said, “even in high school. I just try to protect the ball the best way I can... If it’s not open, I won’t throw it. I am aggressive with it too at the same time. I know when to take shots and when it’s good not to.’’
JIMMY MURPHY SIGHTING
Jimmy Murphy, UM’s fiery former walk-on-turned-scholarship-running back, spoke to reporters Wednesday for the second time since scoring his first career touchdown against BC-U.
Murphy, 24, a fifth-year senior from Avon, Connecticut, expounded on his plans to one day hopefully go to medical school.
“I have to take a semester and study for the MCAT and get ready to go,’’ Murphy said. “I definitely want to give football a try. I want to make sure that book is completely closed before anything else...You have just great people here. You have the Lennar [Foundation Medical] Center right here on campus. You have so many connections here.
“I’m thinking of sports medicine and [being] an orthopedic surgeon. That’s my plan, to come back here. I don’t want to go too far from this team.’’