University of Maine quarterback Chris Ferguson Credit: Gabor Degre

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine quarterback Chris Ferguson returned to the practice field on Tuesday for the first time since suffering an injury to his throwing shoulder in the first quarter of a 17-5 loss to Central Michigan on Sept. 22.

Ferguson hopes to return for Saturday’s Colonial Athletic Association showdown at the University of Rhode Island.

“It’s good to get back out here throwing, getting back into the groove,” said Ferguson, who couldn’t say whether he will be ready for Saturday.

“It’s day-by-day. I’m out here practicing, which is good. It’s positive. Being with the team, getting reps is important,” he said. “That decision won’t be made until later in the week.”

“Ultimately, it will come down to what is best for the team and what is best for me,” he added.

Ferguson said he isn’t “100 percent but nobody is [at this time of the season]. There are still some things that we have to get better. I’ll be with Ryan [UMaine head athletic trainer Ryan Taylor] in the training room with those [issues].”

He said he held back a little on Tuesday, saying “I went half to three-quarters” and that his arm strength was good.

“I’m going to trust in God and his plan and what he is going to do with me,” Ferguson added. “I keep believing. The past couple of weeks have been tough, but I remained positive most of the time. I was rehabbing and doing the things I needed to do. I learned a lot and matured a lot, which is good.”

Ferguson completed 35 of 53 passes for 405 yards and five touchdowns through the first two-plus games. He was intercepted once.

Last season, he completed 171-of-313 passes for 2,064 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was intercepted 11 times.

Redshirt freshman Isaiah Robinson has filled in for him this season, completing 42 of 89 passes for 487 yards and two TDs. He has been intercepted four times.

UMaine head coach Joe Harasymiak said Ferguson looked good Tuesday.

“He had good zip on the ball,” he said. “It was his first full practice so he was limited. We’ll see how he comes back tomorrow. We’ll see how he recovers. That will be the big thing. We’ll see about the fatigue factor going into Wednesday and Thursday.”

Redshirt freshman running back Ramon Jefferson, who missed the Villanova game with a hamstring injury, also returned to practice on Tuesday in limited duty, and he could be back for Saturday’s game, according to Harasymiak.

However, Harasymiak added that he will have to see how Jefferson recovers during the week before he has him suit up Saturday.

Jefferson has rushed for 221 yards on 40 carries for an average of 5.5 yards per carry. He has also caught two passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.

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