TORONTO - Nik Lewis plans on rising from his hotel room bed — no matter how delirious he is — to put on a performance worthy of star status.
Nothing is going to slow the Calgary Stampeders slotback down, certainly not a flu bug.
“Of course, Michael Jordan did it,” Lewis said of the 1997 NBA Finals game where his Airness put up 38 points against the Utah Jazz despite the flu.
“Maybe I could go for 200 (yards). That would be a great night. If I go for 200, then I need to sit out every week of practice. That’s the only logical thing.”
Maybe the Toronto Argonauts will have to worry about Air Nik Friday night at Rogers Centre (5:30 p.m. MT, TSN).
Despite not seeing the field this week and only eating twice in the two days prior to flying to Toronto, Lewis sounded confident he would suit up against the Argos.
He doesn’t have a roommate, so no other players have gotten infected, and Lewis planned on hydrating himself and resting until kickoff.
“The decision is based on me,” said Lewis. “I love to play. I don’t want to miss a game like this or any other way. I work too hard in the off-season to miss games.”
It could be all talk, but Lewis has done plenty of that this season. After a loss Sept. 17 at home to the B.C. Lions, Lewis spouted off about not getting any second-half throws his way for two straight weeks.
Last week, in the aftermath of a 33-31 loss at B.C. Place, Lewis said he couldn’t say what he wanted or “I will get cut.”
The 29-year-old doesn’t make apologies for complaining when the team loses.
“We lost the game,” Lewis said. “After a game, I’m a little more emotional. Sometimes, I say things I shouldn’t. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be me.”
Lewis is certainly not the only CFL player who has raised the issue of not getting enough touches recently.
The Argos are dealing with running back Cory Boyd, who took to Twitter after the team lost 29-19 to the Montreal Alouettes last week to voice his concerns.
Even Lewis’ old pal and former teammate Jeremaine Copeland made headlines in Toronto asking for to be a bigger part of an offence that ranks dead last in the CFL.
It should be no surprise that while Copeland didn’t want to defend Boyd, he backed up his ‘little brother’ Lewis.
“Nik is a competitor, and everybody in Calgary knows that. He wants the ball,” Copeland said. “Without question, he should be the guy who gets a chance to have the ball. He’s one of the top receivers Calgary has ever had.
“I don’t see the problem with him. We’re not supposed to be too far out there and say you demand the ball.
“If you can perform when you get the ball, it’s something you need to make known. I don’t care if you have to put it out to the media or if you have to say it to the coaches. As long as you back it up, that’s all that matters.”
Lewis has never had a game in his career where he didn’t make at least one catch.
This season might be his finest in the CFL. He fights for extra yardage on every play and takes a pounding.
So there’s no way quarterback Henry Burris can imagine Lewis sitting out due to the flu.
“When it comes to game time, it doesn’t matter if he’s playing on one leg — he will show up and give you his all,” Burris said.
“I expect nothing less from him.”