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Helfrich mum on Adams' injured finger

EUGENE — Oregon coach Mark Helfrich wouldn't comment Tuesday on a report that quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. has a broken index finger on his right hand.

CSNNW.com cited multiple sources in revealing that Adams' finger was broken.

Adams finished with 309 yards passing in the 31-28 loss to the now fourth-ranked Michigan State Spartans on Saturday. Adams wore gloves and was seen examining the finger on the sideline during the game. Afterward, the finger was wrapped in a splint.

The No. 12 Ducks don't comment on injuries as a policy, which Helfrich reiterated on the weekly Pac-12 coaches conference call for Saturday's game against Georgia State.

"We don't talk about those kind of player availability things other than the best guy for us will be out there playing," Helfrich said.

Adams apparently injured the finger in Oregon's opener, a 61-42 victory over his former school, Eastern Washington.

After the loss Saturday night, the starting quarterback spent his off day watching the game three times. He completed 22 of 29 passes with one touchdown and two interceptions and said he was to blame for the defeat.

“I feel bad for Vernon,” offensive coordinator Scott Frost said. “We don’t talk about injuries around here, but he wasn’t at his best in that game. That’s not an excuse. You won’t find one game in college football where there isn’t somebody that’s playing partially hurt.

“But that was a big stage for him to be on and not be full speed. I thought he performed pretty well.”

Before Monday’s practice, the Michigan State film was replaced with an early look at Georgia State.

Even if Adams is still dealing with a painful injury, he plans to project healthier body language Saturday at Autzen Stadium (11 a.m., Pac-12 Networks).

“I don’t know if I was really having fun, I was kind of uptight,” Adams said. “I just need to loosen up a little bit more and have some fun when I’m playing.”

Frost said he prepared both Adams and Jeff Lockie to start against Michigan State.

Both quarterbacks could see action against the Panthers (1-1), a team coming off its first-ever Sun Belt victory (34-32 at New Mexico State), considering Oregon opened as a 48½-point favorite in Las Vegas.

“As a backup you have to prepare like that every week,” Lockie said. “As we’ve seen in the past, you cannot play a down like last Saturday or something could happen early and you could play the whole game.”

Adams continued to wear gloves during Monday’s practice and didn’t get into detail about his finger.

“It’s good, it’s good,” he said.

Two games into the season, Adams ranks fifth among his Pac-12 peers in passing efficiency. The senior has completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 277.5 yards per game with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Marcus Mariota, who had a perfect passer rating in his NFL debut with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, led the nation in passing efficiency last season. The Heisman Trophy winner completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 296.9 yards per game with 42 touchdowns and four interceptions in 15 starts.

“After the game I just walked around to most of the guys, letting the defense know they played their butts off,” Adams said. “They gave us so many opportunities to score more points, and I turned the ball over. I just let guys know that was on me, that was my bad and I need to take care of the ball.

“I need to be a better quarterback. I need to just make plays.”

Coach Mark Helfrich appreciates the graduate transfer being accountable as the Ducks attempt to rebound from another early season loss and get back in contention for the College Football Playoff.

“I think that’s the natural reaction of a quarterback or a guy in a leadership position and a guy who has the ball in his hands a lot,” Helfrich said. “Absolutely that will resonate with guys.”

Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., left, and Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook (18) talk following their game Saturday. Adams is dealing a finger injury. AP PHOTO