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Miami QB Wright injured; S Phillips to have surgery

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- By any measure, this was already a
wildly disappointing season for Kyle Wright.

Things are quickly getting worse.

With his team at 2-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and still
needing one more win just to become bowl eligible, Miami's
quarterback is dealing with a small fracture on the inside of his
right thumb and may miss the Hurricanes' game Saturday at No. 23
Maryland.

"There's been a lot of things that have gone not the way we
planned this year," Wright said. "This is another thing, personally, that I didn't want to happen."

Wright, injured on the third play of Miami's 17-10 loss to
Virginia Tech last weekend, said he would have his cast removed
Wednesday and attempt to practice.

From there, the Hurricanes (5-4) will determine whether Wright
or Kirby Freeman will start this week.

"I told them that if I can do it, I'll do it," Wright said.
"I was the one who told them I wanted to cut it off during the
week, just to see if I could do it. You guys know that's just how I
am. If I can play, I can grab it, I can throw it, I'll do it. If I
can play through it, I'll do it."

Wright's injury is one of several medical issues facing Miami
these days.

Starting safety Kenny Phillips -- who leads the Hurricanes with
48 tackles and four interceptions -- will have surgery on his thumb
this week, coach Larry Coker said Tuesday, and could miss the
remainder of the year.

Plus, wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, who hurt his knee in
Miami's loss to Louisville on Sept. 16, will not return this
season. Miami will seek a medical redshirt for Jenkins, who was the
Hurricanes' top receiver before the injury.

"We've got to find a way to win," Coker said. "What's the
magic formula for that? As I've said before, we've got to continue
to play great defense, we've got to continue to improve on special
teams and we've got to contribute in the offense."

If Wright can't go Saturday, then Freeman -- who has completed 10
of 19 passes for 127 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions as
a backup this season -- will make his first career start.

"He's about as anxious as anybody to find out if I can play or
not," Wright said. "It wouldn't be fair to him to have me
questionable, questionable, questionable until Saturday and then
say 'Hey, kid, you're going to go make your first start."'

Wright completed 14 of 29 passes for only 84 yards with two
interceptions in the loss to Virginia Tech, yet said he didn't want
to use his injured thumb -- which he said he hurt while being
tackled after a scramble -- as an excuse.

And it turns out the game and the injury may not even have been
the worst parts of Wright's Saturday night.

Wright's father was involved in a postgame verbal altercation
with some fans at the Orange Bowl following the Virginia Tech loss.
Several Miami players said fans were spitting on the Hurricanes as
they walked off the field and some recruits, making official visits
for the game, also had beer spilled on them from the stands.

"A few bad apples," Miami center Anthony Wollschlager said.

But Wright was clearly still bothered by the incident Tuesday.

"No matter what happens on the field, I don't think that
warrants fans spitting on you. I mean, do you? That's definitely
not acceptable," Wright said. "You hear it walking off, you can't
listen to it. But that's why my dad stood up ... he was standing up
to the fans spitting on guys.

"We're not getting paid $5 million a year," Wright added. "We
are 18- to 22-year-old kids that prepare the hardest we can and we
go out and play the hardest we can. I don't think people should
question that."

Wright -- who has 1,655 yards, eight touchdowns and seven
interceptions this season -- has a long history of issues with the
thumb, which he first broke when he was 12, then broke again as a
high schooler. He also sprained it last season in a win over
Temple.

The thumb was placed in a soft cast Sunday, before doctors
decided Monday to further immobilize it with a hard cast that
extends nearly to his elbow. Wright didn't want to speculate on
what his chances of playing this weekend are, but acknowledged that
a worst-case scenario would have him missing at least the rest of
Miami's three remaining regular-season games.