It didn’t look like the kind of hit that would end a quarterbacks’ season, as BC Lions’ defensive lineman Shawn Lemon brought Matt Nichols to the ground for the sack in their week 10 matchup.
"It was just really unfortunate that I kind of had my arm pinned to my side, and kind of landed a little awkwardly,” said Nichols. “It's just one of those things that's unavoidable."
But after a stint on the six-game injured list, the 32-year-old underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder on September 26, effectively ending his chances to return to the field in 2019.
"I've had success in the past with similar situations and have had it worked out, and played no problem. So I was hoping for one of those situations and unfortunately it wasn't a scenario where I was going to be able to return to play this year," said Nichols.
"There's a lot of disappointment for Matt,” said Bombers’ quarterback Chris Streveler. “We all know how much he puts into this on a day in and day out basis, and what a great teammate and leader he is for us, so we feel for him."
The injury comes in the midst of what he calls his finest season as a pro; in nine games played this season Nichols threw for 1,936 yards and 15 touchdowns with just five interceptions, while leading the Bombers to a 7-2 record.
"I've been able to bounce back from some stuff, and this one is just magnified because I've had a good season going, and I'm not able to return for the finish,” he said. “As a quarterback, I feel like I'm in the prime of my career, and again was having a career year, and expect to have a lot of good football in front of me.”
While he wouldn’t touch on the extent of what needed to be repaired in his right shoulder, Nichols said he expects to make a full recovery through rehabbing in the offseason.
It’s also an offseason where he’ll become a free agent. Nichols told the media he and the Bombers weren’t able to reach an agreement on a new deal before the season began, but now his future is less certain.
"Ultimately we're in season right now, it's not really the time I guess to get into much of that talk,” he said. “But I mean we'll have plenty of time once the season ends to get into those talks, and again that's something that's out of my control. I mean I love it here, I'd love to be back, but we'll see how it all plays out."
As for the future of the team without him in the lineup, the nine year CFL vet believes they can get the job done.
"We've proven that we can beat anyone, and I look forward to watching this team do that."