Virginia quarterback Shawn Moore, one of the leading contenders for the Heisman Trophy, will be sidelined for three weeks after undergoing surgery Saturday night for a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand.

Dr. Frank C. McCue, Virginia's team physician, repaired the damage at the University of Virginia Medical Center shortly after the eighth-ranked Cavaliers were beaten 35-30 by Maryland."Basically there was ligament damage," McCue said.

He said Moore, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior who went into Saturday's game as the nation's passing efficiency leader, suffered a dislocation of the joint at the base of the right thumb.

McCue said there was no reason to keep Moore at the hospital overnight.

"He could begin exercising it and using it in three weeks," McCue said.

Asked about Moore's chances of being cleared to take part in postseason play, McCue said: "There's a possibility he could play in a bowl game."

The injury occurred when Virginia, trailing 35-28 with less than two minutes left, faced fourth-and-goal on the 2. Coach George Welsh said the Cavaliers called a flood pass that sent three receivers into the left side of the end zone.

Moore sprinted out to his left, but as he was searching for receivers, Maryland linebacker Scott Whittier broke into the backfield and wrapped his arms around Moore's legs. As Moore was going down, he put out his right arm to brace the fall.

The injury ended what had been a sub-par game for Moore. It marked the first time in his 32 starts that Moore failed to either run or pass for at least one touchdown.