Will Ricky Ray be OK?

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 PM ET

There were 37,246 fans in Commonwealth Stadium last night and you could hear a Grey Cup drop.

It was four minutes into the second quarter when Ray went down and possible headlines were already being batted around in the Commonwealth Stadium press box.

Frito Lay-ed Up?

Ex-Ray?

Ray Of Nope?

Planting to throw on a rollout, the $460,000-a-year quarterback started rolling around on the ground in agony.

"I just planted and felt a lot of pain,'' said Ray. "I was pretty worried for quite a while. There was quite a bit of pain. It scared me there a little bit.''

It was obvious before the trainers made it to the far hashmarks that it was his right knee.

After several minutes, Ray was hoisted to his feet and made the long walk across the field, taking small, tentative steps until he made it to the bench. There he lay horizontal for several more minutes, holding his head as trainers probed. Before the end of the half, Ray walked to the dressing room, done for the day.

MACIOCIA KEPT ON COACHING

To his credit, coach Danny Maciocia never once went to the bench to check out his meal ticket. He stayed where he was and kept on coaching.

"Maybe that's because he soiled himself,'' said a press box wag.

"I'm not the quarterback coach or the offensive co-ordinator now, I'm the head coach,'' said Maciocia.

It's not that he wasn't concerned, however.

"Many things went through my mind,'' he said. "Ricky Ray is not the kind of guy who was going to stay down unless he was hurt.''

In the end, Ray was declared to be more-or-less OK.

"It's just a hyperextension,'' said Maciocia.

The most likely scenario would be to miss the second pre-season game next week in Winnipeg but be ready for the season-opener the following week here against the Ottawa Renegades.

"I think that's an educated guess right there,'' said Maciocia. "I think we're OK. It's going to take a little bit of time.''

With ice wrapped around his knee, Ray came into the media room and took a chair instead of handling his post-game interviews in front of his locker.

"I think I'm fine. There's not a lot of swelling,'' he said.

"I hyperextended my left knee here the first season with the Eskimos and sprained an MCL and missed one game that year,'' he said of the only other injuries he's had to deal with.

A third-string quarterback who was supposed to carry a clipboard, Ray ended up as the starter when Jason Maas suffered serious injuries that season.

"You can't do anything about it. I know injuries can happen any time. You just hope they don't happen to you. I've been lucky so far. But that definitely scared me a little bit.''

Maciocia said he didn't see any rust on his quarterback and Ray feels the same way.

"It felt good out there.''

IT'LL BE MORE THAN RUST

But it'll be more than rust they'll be looking for the next time Ray steps on the field.

The former Frito Lay potato chip truck delivery man who took Edmonton to the Grey Cup in his previous two seasons and won it the last time he wore an Eskimos uniform, hadn't thrown a football in a game since the pre-season with the New York Jets last year.

Ray threw seven straight complete passes to start the game and ended up nine for 12 for 115 yards and staked the Eskimos to a 7-0 lead before he went down.

"Hopefully I'll be healthy and be able to go out and play the season opener. I think I should be ready for the first game.''

The problem, though, is that Ray is going to be a bit of a question mark and isn't going to have another pre-season game to really get it going.

"I'd have liked that extra game. I'd liked to have been able to get out there for one more.

"Hopefully I'll be healthy and be able to go out and play the season opener. I think I should be ready for the first game.''

The headline writers can stand down.


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