Maine’s Chris Ferguson fights for a first down against New Hampshire during the Black Bears’ season-opening win in August. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald)

Sophomore quarterback Chris Ferguson was back at practice for the University of Maine football team Tuesday morning, saying he had no restrictions on his right shoulder.

Ferguson has missed parts of the last two games, each time aggravating a right shoulder injury he first suffered in the third game of the season. He missed two starts at that time.

Maine (8-3) plays Jacksonville State (9-3) in the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs at noon Saturday at Alfond Stadium. The Black Bears, because of their Colonial Athletic Association championship, had a bye in the first round, giving Ferguson time to heal.

“I’m feeling good,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “I got a lot of rest and have been just icing it and heating it and a little bit of throwing. I rested it as much as I could, that was definitely the recipe.”

Ferguson returned home to Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, to spend Thanksgiving with his family. He didn’t do much there.

“I was skinning the potatoes, that was my big job on Thanksgiving, washing them up, helping Mom, doing those things,” he said. “Doing the dishes was good therapy for my shoulder.”

Ferguson completed 58.2 percent of his passes this year for 1,718 yards and 14 touchdowns. He threw only eight interceptions.

The Maine players returned from Thanksgiving break on Saturday and began preparations for the playoff game on Sunday with a light practice. The Black Bears had their first full practice Tuesday.

“Just getting into flow and the swing of things,” said Ferguson. “It was full-go today.”

Coach Joe Harasymiak said the bye week was beneficial for other injured players as well. Running back Joe Fitzpatrick of North Yarmouth and Cheverus High did not play in the season finale against Elon on Nov. 17 but should be ready. He is second on Maine in rushing with 388 yards. “That was just a precautionary thing,” said Harasymiak. “Fitzy’s back practicing and should be ready to go.”

And defensive tackle Charles Mitchell, who suffered a sprained ankle against Elon, was limited in practice but Harasymiak expects him to be ready for Saturday.


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