Hervey: I'm ready to play

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

Ed Hervey is raring to go.

Whether he's ready to go Saturday when the Edmonton Eskimos host the B.C. Lions is another story.

Hervey, who injured his knee six weeks ago against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is close to returning to the Eskimos' lineup.

How well his knee holds up in practice this week will determine if Hervey is able to suit up against the undefeated Lions.

"The coach is going to ultimately make the final choice," said Hervey prior to a rare practice at Commonwealth Stadium yesterday. "But I am ready, and I can almost guarantee that if it's not this week, then it'll definitely be next week."

The Eskimos would like nothing better than to be able to insert their all-star receiver into the lineup against the Lions, especially considering the success Hervey has had in the past against B.C.

However, they are not about to risk Hervey reinjuring his knee.

"You want him as healthy as you can possibly get him and if you are looking at another week, then you should do so, regardless of who you're playing," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia.

"Selfishly, I'd love to have him in the lineup, just because of what he brings on the field and off the field as far as leadership is concerned. But you need to be smart, you need to look long term or down the road with a guy like Ed Hervey."

Without having gone through any contract drills since tearing his right medial collateral ligament, it's unlikely Hervey will be risked against the Lions. The Eskimos boast a talented receiving corps and there is no need to rush Hervey back.

"When is it too early? They said six to eight weeks and we're working on six weeks. I feel better," Hervey said. "If I wait another week it probably would help a little more, but with these types of injuries if you put a brace on it, I've been assured the brace will give me all the stability I need to practise."

Having sat out for the past six weeks, only to watch his team go 2-4, Hervey is itching to get back in the lineup.

"The knee is not going to lie to me," Hervey said. "If it's a case that it's not strong enough or it's fatigued because I have to move side-to-side with someone in front of me, then if it shows, then I'm going to walk off the field and take a little more time."


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