On the final day of open practices at Colorado during fall camp, CU fans saw some good news unfold.

Freshman wide receiver Jeff Thomas returned to practice after missing much of the first two weeks of camp with a bad hamstring. It is the same problem that kept Thomas out of practices during the spring and an issue with which he has struggled since this time last year.

"He's got good ability, but he's got a lot of ground to make up," coach Mike MacIntyre said.

Thomas returned on the same day that MacIntyre told reporters after practice that he knows of two true freshmen who will definitely play this fall. One is Devin Ross, another wide receiver, whom Thomas will have to catch up to now that he is healthy. The other is cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

"It feels good," Thomas said of being back in practice. "My hamstring has been bothering me for awhile now. I practiced (Monday) and it felt a little shaky, but it felt good today. So we're getting there slowly but surely."

Thomas said he believes the CU athletic training staff has finally identified why he has struggled with the same hamstring tightening for so long. He said it has to do with tightness in his hips that he is working out.

Wide receivers coach Troy Walters said it is good to have Thomas, a speedy and athletic playmaker, back on the field, but it remains to be seen how soon he will be able to contribute.


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"He's missed a lot of camp," Walters said. "So I don't know what he can do. He's got quite a bit (to catch up), but I'm trying to get him as many reps as his body will allow."

Thomas acknowledged he has ground to make up, but he believes he can do that in the 12 days before the season starts Sept. 1 against Colorado State.

"I thought I knew everything and I thought I was on it, but when you're in there it just moves so much faster than what you think, you kind of forget some stuff," Thomas said. "I think it's not that big of a setback to where it would hinder me from playing in the CSU game."

Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at ringok@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/kyleringo.