Esks' Ray shoots for Saturday

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:07 PM ET

Just because the Edmonton Eskimos are 2-0 with Ricky Ray sidelined by injury these last two weeks, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be happy to have him back.

The Eskimos No. 1 quarterback was back practising Tuesday is ready to start Saturday against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“I’ve been throwing the last couple days and it feels pretty good,” said Ray, who is recovering from an injury that affects his throwing arm. “It takes a few minutes to get warmed up, but after that it feels better and better so that’s a good sign.

“That’s going to be the biggest thing, is just getting used to throwing to some moving targets after you haven’t done that for a couple weeks, but with the full week of practice, that should come back pretty quick.”

In Ray’s absence, No. 2 Jared Zabransky quarterbacked the club to wins over the Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers to set up a regular-season weekend finale that will decide the third and final West Division playoff spot.

A loss by the B.C. Lions to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats or an Eskimos’ win in Saturday’s double-header would put the Green and Gold into the post-season.

Despite the outcome of the early game, Ray said he wants a chance to play prior to a possible playoff run.

“Regardless of the situation, I was shooting for this week to get back in and play a little bit,” he said. “Obviously with B.C. winning it’s a different game for us, we’re going in there in a must-win situation.

“I wanted to play regardless of the situation and hopefully I get that opportunity.”

Head coach Richie Hall said coaches will monitor how much Ray plays on Saturday.

“His timing was a little bit off but it was nice to see him throw the ball,” Hall said. “He was pain free and he felt good, I talked to him in the weight room.

“It was the first time he practised with the guys for a couple weeks. He feels pain free and he feels confident, so now it’s just a matter of getting the rust off.”

Prior to his morning workouts and practice, Ray undergoes rehab to strengthen and warmup the sore muscles.

“It’s night and day, a week ago it was too much pain to throw and my mechanics were off, I couldn’t follow through,” Ray said. “Now, once I get through those first few throws the pain goes away and I feel like normal.

“I feel like I’m not holding back at all, I’m not even really thinking about it. Right now it’s just getting used to guys running the routes and getting my timing back.”

IN AND OUT: LG Kyle Koch was practising with trainers on the sidelines. DT Dario Romero and DT Adam Braidwood were both resting Tuesday, while RB Daniel Porter sat out. All three are expected to return to practice Wednesday.

QB Ricky Ray and FB Mathieu Bertrand both returned to practice for the first time in two weeks.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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