REGINA -- Cody Fajardo is questionable for the Saskatchewan Roughriders final regular season game on Saturday.
The Quarterback wasn’t at the Riders' practice on Thursday, just a day after he was named the Riders nominee for CFL Most Outstanding Player. Head Coach Craig Dickenson is hopeful Fajardo will still be able to start on Saturday afternoon.
“He pulled a muscle in his back during practice (Wednesday) and we just want to play it safe with him, we’re just hoping it’s okay. He just felt something tighten up in his back when he threw the football, so we said let’s be safe and treat it.”
Wednesday was a closed practice outdoors at the University of Regina, but Fajardo spoke with the media following training and didn’t exhibit any obvious signs of discomfort. However his teammate and training partner, Isaac Harker, was worried.
“I didn’t get a good look at anything but I just saw him on the ground, so when you’re best friend on the team gets hurt, you get really concerned.”
Dickenson says he’ll let the Quarterback decide whether or not he plays, “it’s gonna be his call. If he feels fine, he’ll play, if he feels like he can’t be effective, he won’t.”
Dickensons says if the Most Outstanding Player can’t suit up against the Edmonton Eskimos, Isaac Harker will get the start, but the rookie and Bryan Bennett would play "probably a little bit equally."
Backup quarterback Isaac Harker took reps with the Riders starting offence at practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and Bryan Bennett worked with the second group and special teams.
Harker has only gotten game action in three outings this season, but Dickenson says, “he’s a super sharp guy, he understands the offense, he’ll get the ball out of his hand. You know it’s just a lack of experience.”
Quarterback Coach Steve Walsh, who has seen the pivots work all season, says Harker has “deceiving speed and elusiveness, but he’s a guy that’s going to sit in the pocket and find a throw downfield.”
The rookie quarterback says he’s been preparing like he’s the starter for 22 weeks so he’s ready to roll.
“Like in Hamilton, it’s just a wave of supreme confidence before you go in. I’ve been putting in every second I can to prepare for this team.”
The Riders are vying for first in the western division against the Calgary Stampeders. If the Riders win against the Eskimos on Saturday, or if Calgary loses, they will host the Western Final. If they lose or Calgary wins, the Riders would host the Western Semi-Final.
Backup QB Isaac Harker took reps with the #Riders starters Wed/Thurs & says Fajardo was in the film room with him following the injury, giving him advice on routes.
Harker says “I’ve been preparing like I’m the starter for 22 weeks so I’m ready to roll.” #cfl @ctvregina pic.twitter.com/ByyFhz2yQe