Matt Nichols truly believed he would be able to return at some point this season for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers — until hearing from doctors and the team’s medical staff late last week that surgery to repair his injured right throwing shoulder was the best course of action.
Nichols spoke with reporters at IG Field for the first time Tuesday, since undergoing that procedure last Thursday. He described the outcome as “disappointing” and “unfortunate.”
“You know it was one of those scenarios where it was borderline, and I wanted to do everything I can to give myself a chance to continue to play this year,” said the 32-year-old quarterback, with his arm in a black sling as he stood at the podium.
“It kind of hit the point where it wasn’t going to be possible. I’ve had success in the past with similar situations, and how 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 to be able to return to play this year.”
Nichols was injured in the fourth quarter of the 32-16 home win over the BC Lions on Aug. 15 and said he did not consider the takedown to the turf by BC Lions Defensive Lineman Shawn Lemon to be a dirty play.
“I’ve only watched it once and it’s really unfortunate that I had my arm pinned to my side and kinda landed a little awkwardly. It’s not like I hit the ground super hard or anything.
“As much as I didn’t want to get my arms pinned to my side, he was doing his job to get the ball out of my hands and sack the quarterback. “
Nichols said he expects to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of training camp ahead of the 2020 CFL season, but the Blue Bombers were in first place when the injury occurred — and in his opinion, was having one of the finest seasons of his professional career.
“I had a really good season going that I would have liked to finish. Obviously there were a couple of rough days, initially. But I have great support from teammates and coaches here. And my wife at home is not into feeling sorry for yourself.”
Nichols will become a free agent in February and said there had been some talks with the Bombers about an extension prior to the start of this season, but those negotiations were put on hold because of the uncertainty of what was going to happen with the new collective bargaining agreement.
“We’re in-season right now and it’s not really the time, I guess, to get into much of that talk. But we’ll have plenty of time once the season ends to get into those talks. It’s out of my control. I love it here, I’d love to be back — but we’ll see how that plays out.
“I felt like I was playing the best football of my life and I don’t think that’s something that goes unnoticed.”
At the time of the injury, Nichols had completed 171 of 240 pass attempts (71.25 completion percentage) for 1936 yards and a 15-5 touchdowns to interceptions ratio in nine games.