It's up to Khari to prove he's fit

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Many wondered what exactly was amiss with that bum shoulder early last season.

Some refused to believe there was anything wrong with it. Others speculated that Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Khari Jones would sneak off to California in the off-season to secretly undergo surgery.

"We took MRIs and everything and there was no structural damage -- just a banged-up muscle in the back of my arm," said Jones, who is scheduled to play the second and third quarters against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, his former team, here tonight. "It was almost akin to a charley horse that kind of limits your mobility in there and I needed rest. So, I got the rest and strengthened it out. Things are good now."

Well, not that good. Jones must still prove on the field that his shoulder has recovered.

"He's had a real good camp," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia. "He's completed 68% of his throws and been picked off three times in camp. He understands our identity on offence and we're looking forward to seeing him play tomorrow and hopefully on (June 16).

"He's got to show he can play. We know he can, he's just got to line up and do it now."

QB Ricky Ray, by the way, has completed 70.6% of his passes with Jason Maas at 71% and Jason Johnson, 77%.

However, Maas is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, which could help Jones. Maas, in fact, will dress but not throw the ball in tonight's pre-season match, Maciocia said. Ray will start with Johnson mopping up.

BISON PRIDE: Safety Will Loftus has moved across the country after Edmonton acquired the University of Manitoba Bisons product in the deal that sent slotback Terry Vaughn to Montreal.

"My time in Montreal was done," said Loftus, 29. "I had a great time out there, I'd never change anything. It was a good time and a great learning experience. But it was at a point in my career where it was just time for a change. I was out there for seven years and to be able to come out here to Edmonton to join up with this organization's been great."

And he still has fond memories of the Bisons.

"I tell a lot of young guys that the University of Manitoba was great to me," he said. "I'm proud to be a Bison. It's something that you carry with you for the rest of your life. It helped me make the CFL."

But the 6-foot-1, 198-pound Vancouver native is battling Kelly Wiltshire for the starting spot here.

"You've just got to do the best you can and hopefully, it all works out," he said.

GRID BITS: Some observers are raving about Edmonton WR Trevor Gaylor, an ex-NFLer who finished last season on the Eskimo practice roster ... Neither WR Ed Hervey nor SB Darrell Mitchell will play for Edmonton tonight.


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