The Washington Times - October 8, 2008, 09:06PM

What would a week of Maryland football be without some quarterback news?

Today’s tidbit du jour has to do with Jordan Steffy’s return to practice, his first throwing work since fracturing his thumb in the Aug. 30 opener.

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“He threw the ball today for the first time, which I think is a positive,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “We’ll just have to wait and see how he is tomorrow.”

So Steffy could be back in the mix before long. But let’s be realistic about this situation – no matter who it is, a quarterback needs him thumb to be functional to be truly effective.

At this point, it’s fair to wonder if that’s even possible without surgery. Of course, surgery would have ended Steffy’s career, so no one can blame the guy for delaying it until January.

“He needs surgery, so although he went out and practiced today, he’s not 100 percent,” offensive coordinator James Franklin said. “I think we could get by with him. When your thumb is damaged with a tendon deal and a bone deal, it’s going to be hard to grip the ball the way you need to consistently. He did OK today. It’s going to be a matter of how he can deal with the pain.”

That’s a realistic assessment of the situation. Steffy’s M.O. is one of resilience, so here’s betting he’ll tolerate the pain better than most. But given the actual injury, it’s equally fair to wonder whether he could be a legitimate multi-dimensional option if he is ever thrust into a game the rest of the season.

Patrick Stevens