“Definite(ly), I’ll be out there.”
Those were Cody Fajardo’s first words to the media since missing week seven action due to a nagging knee injury and COVID.
He wants the start on Friday night when his Saskatchewan Roughriders take on the BC Lions.
But whether or not the choice is his to make remains to be seen.
“I feel like it might be up to other people,” he admitted. “But, if it’s up to me, I’m playing. Maybe I spoke too soon by saying definitely I’ll be out there.”
His week away from the gridiron had Fajardo chomping at the bit to get back out on the field with his teammates, taking snaps and making plays.
“I miss(ed) it, you don’t know what you’ve got have until it’s taken away from you,” Fajardo said.
The 30-year-old signal caller’s optimism on a return to play this week was backed up by his head coach, who also expects his starter to return under centre.
“I do think he can go, but I thought he looked good, he was in rhythm, it was good to see him back out there,” head coach Craig Dickenson said. “Today’s practice, even though it was short, it was productive and we got a chance to see him get a rhythm with his receivers.
Post-practice, both Fajardo and Dickenson broke their silence on the knee injury that’s been ailing the starting quarterback, something they haven’t done since the injury first occurred back in week two.
When asked if there was any ligament damage, Fajardo was quick to respond with a rather concise answer.
“There is, I’ll leave it there,” he said, chuckling.
His coach, meanwhile, expanded on the injury further.
“It’s an MCL, unless there’s something new from today, I don’t know” Dickenson said. “Yeah, we know he’s got some ligament issues and hopefully it heals up on it’s own and he’s able to play.”
Fajardo made one thing extremely clear during his availability: his missing last weekend’s game against the Toronto Argonauts was strictly a COVID issue, not injury related.
“It wasn’t my knee that held me back, it was COVID protocol,” he explained “I didn’t get out of protocol until Sunday, the day of the game and the coaches looked after me, they didn’t want me going out there with no practice.
“(COVID) kicked my butt for 48 hours, it was really tough on me, I had just about every symptom you can think of.”
Although the spot light centred on Fajardo, he wasn’t the only Rider to return to the field Tuesday.
He was joined by receiver Duke Williams who returned from a one-week suspension following a helmet throwing incident in a week six loss to the Argonauts in Atlantic Canada, for which he offered an apology to the Roughriders supporters.
“I apologize to Rider Nation, I apologize to my teammates, the fans,” he said. “I got out of character and it won’t happen again, but at the end of the day, that’s all I apologize for.”
Williams went on to add that he vehemently denies the allegations made by the Argonauts that he spit on Shaq Richardson multiple times over the course of the game
“If you’re not a dog and you’re weak, you make up excuses, that’s what you do,” he said. “That’s what he did: made up an excuse, because I dogged him out and at the end of the day he made up an excuse.
“I didn’t spit on nobody and that’s what it is.”