Cody Fajardo returns to practice, 'needs' to begin throwing by midweek

All Saskatchewan Roughriders has to do is sit and watch as the Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers battle it out in the CFL’s Western Semifinal on Sunday.

With quarterback Cody Fajardo still nursing an oblique injury, the team knows they’re in a pretty good spot — already booking their ticket to the Western Final.

“I can’t imagine (the injury) is a great thing especially for a quarterback, but we know winning that last game, getting the extra week off, that bye week, was something helpful,” said middle linebacker Solomon Elimimian. 

“We knew if we could give Cody a little more rest that would help us as a team.”

Fajardo was at the team’s only practice this week on Thursday and while he didn’t throw, head coach Craig Dickenson said it was important for him to be on the field.

‘Doesn’t matter how bad the pain is’: Cody Fajardo says he’ll play in Western Final

“We felt like he needed to get out here with the guys, run through the plays and call out the plays in the huddle,” Dickenson said.

“We didn’t want him throwing, but it was good to see him out here moving around.”

Dickenson said the coaches will “need” to see him throwing by at least their second practice of next week — either Wednesday or Thursday.

If it looks like Fajardo won’t be ready, Dickenson isn’t hesitating over a backup plan.

“We’ll just go with Isaac (Harker) again, same as last week,” he said.

The second string rookie quarterback completed 23-of-28 of his passes for 213 yards against the Edmonton Eskimos last Saturday.

Players are staying confident no matter who’s in — Fajardo or Harker.

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“Guys stepped up for Harker and made plays…. that’s what team ball is all about,” Elimimian said.

“We got young guys that play and we expect the best from them, but (if he plays) everyone is going to rally around and make sure it’s not all on his shoulders.”

Despite the uncertainty, the West Division’s Most Outstanding Player has no doubt he will be ready to go.

Although Fajardo didn’t speak to reporters on Thursday, it’s been his message since the final game of the season.

As for his teammates, they expect Fajardo to be their pivot come game day.

“If he’s healthy he’ll play and if he’s close to healthy, he’ll play,” Elimimian said. 

Craig Dickenson pulling for his brother in Western Semifinal

Most head coaches will tell you it doesn’t matter who they play in the playoffs, but for Roughriders’ bench boss Craig Dickenson that isn’t the case.

When the Stampeders and Blue Bombers face off in the Western Semi-Final on Sunday, he knows who he will be cheering for.

His brother Dave has been the head coach in Calgary since 2016.

“I’m pulling for the team in red because of my brother, but we’ll play whoever we got,” Dickenson said.

“We’re preparing for both teams. We’ve done a bit of advanced scouting and we’ll have a good game plan and be ready for either one.”

Dickenson said staff and players have been invited to watch both games together on Sunday over food and drinks.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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