|Argos rookie back Hakim Hill, who will be starting in place of John Avery tomorrow in B.C., hauls in a pass during practice yesterday. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)
The Argos are giving John Avery an unwanted week off to heal his mental and physical wounds.
With the marquee running back coming off one of the worst games of his career, the Argos (2-1) will leave Avery at home and ask rookie Hakim Hill to lead their struggling rushing attack tomorrow night in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions (2-0).
"Tough decision," Argos coach Pinball Clemons said. "Obviously, (Avery) is an important part of what we have done and is going to be an important part of what we do. It's (the coach's) job to do what you think is right in this situation and I believe it's the right thing to do.
"It involves the overall health of the person and the team. By no means, don't think John Avery won't be back on the roster. In a couple weeks time, he'll be back at it."
Avery, who suffered a hip flexor injury in the pre-season and hasn't come close to reaching top gear, fumbled twice this past Saturday and was replaced by Hill in the fourth quarter of a 27-26 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
With wide receiver Robert Baker returning tomorrow from a one-game team suspension for punching kicker Noel Prefontaine in Calgary, there is room for just one running back on the roster.
"(Clemons) is a very know-ledgeable person and sees things I don't see and has done things I haven't done in my career yet," said Avery, who had three carries for minus-three yards against Saskatchewan.
"After listening to him, it did make sense (not to play). (But) I'm never happy about not playing. This week is really a preparation week for me to heal a bit more and to get a bit more confidence mentally."
The Argos are last in the CFL with an average of 45.7 rushing yards per game, but also are second-last in carries (33) for the season.
While neither Hill nor Avery has made a huge impact on a game this season, the rookie appears to have more confidence at the moment.
"I try to seize every opportunity," Hill said.
"Like I said the first time you guys talked to me, my job is to go as hard as I can when John Avery's not in the game. This week, if he's not going to be there, I'll just try to step it up so the offence doesn't lose a beat."
Avery, meanwhile, is keeping the faith.
"I'm not bitter with anybody about it because it's only going to make me better," he said.
"At the end of the day, I'll take care of business."