Chase Fugere's future in a Bishop Ryan football uniform is still up in the air.
The senior running back suffered a separation of the acromioclavicular joint - the area where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade - late in the first quarter of a 28-0 victory over Rugby on Thursday at Herb Parker Stadium.
A separation of the AC joint is a sprain of the ligaments that connects the collarbone and shoulder blade. An X-ray confirmed his collarbone was not broken. Ryan coach Brad Borkhuis said Fugere will have additional tests to determine whether certain shoulder ligaments are stretched or torn.
Trainers attend to Bishop Ryan senior running back Chase Fugere during Thursday’s game against Rugby at Herb Parker Stadium. Fugere suffered an AC separation on the play.
Fugere said the pain has greatly diminished and his current treatment calls for rest and ice. His arm is still in a sling and he is optimistic that he could return to the field during the playoffs.
"He's trying to be hopeful," Borkhuis said. "Right now he still has more tests. We just don't know."
The recovery time for an AC separation is anywhere from one to three weeks depending on the severity of the injury. If further tests reveal torn ligaments, surgery would be required and Fugere's season would be over.
Fugere has already been ruled out of Wednesday's regular-season finale against Class AA West Region opponent Bismarck St. Mary's.
Neither Fugere nor the coaching staff elaborated on a specific timetable for his return to the field.
"We're hopeful for the playoffs, but we're also being realistic about it as well," Borkhuis said.
On his fourth carry against Rugby, Fugere was tackled hard on his right shoulder near Ryan's sideline. He remained on the ground for several minutes while athletic trainers tended to his injury before being helping him to the bench.
"I just thought my season was over," Fugere said. "I thought that was going to be my last play."
The Lions (7-1 overall, 6-0 region) will miss Fugere's production in the backfield. He rushed for 776 yards in eight games this season, including 224 and 164 in back-to-back contests against Dickinson Trinity and Turtle Mountain.
Ryan's offense has shown it can put up numbers without Fugere. The Lions defeated Bottineau 28-2 earlier this season despite Fugere's 37 yards on 14 carries. Junior quarterback Austin Eggl threw for 140 yards and a touchdown and ran for 67 yards and another score. Junior wide receiver Nick Berentson - Fugere's replacement against Rugby - ran for two touchdowns.
Berentson will start at running back against St. Mary's.
The Lions have wrapped up the region's No. 1 seed and are looking to end the regular season unbeaten in region play. Ryan has not defeated St. Mary's (3-5, 2-4) during Borkhuis' head-coaching tenure.