Playing through pain

Quarterback Stefan LeFors throws the ball during practice on Monday. (Sun Media/Marcel Cretain)

Quarterback Stefan LeFors throws the ball during practice on Monday. (Sun Media/Marcel Cretain)

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

Stefan LeFors has not only proven that he has the grit needed to become a starting CFL quarterback, he also has a sly sense of humour.

The left-handed Winnipeg Blue Bombers passer had his right shoulder checked out yesterday after taking an hellacious hit from Tiger-Cats linebacker Otis Floyd late in the first half of Saturday's game in Hamilton.

LeFors was asked by a scrum of reporters how his shoulder was yesterday.

"It's good," he replied. "Not an issue."

LeFors, of course, was mimicking head coach Mike Kelly's response to the club being caught spying last week.

"It's sore and something that I'm going to have to live with and fight through, and we'll be all right on Game Day (this Friday)," said LeFors, who favoured his right shoulder while throwing during yesterday's practice. But he took his turns with the No. 1 offence and even held for field goal attempts.

But the fact that he was even upright was almost shocking.

"That hit on the sideline was like a car wreck," said Bomber head coach Mike Kelly. "In my 30 years, that might have been the most vicious collision I've ever stood right next to. When he was the first to get up, there was a sigh of relief. But I had serious concerns about both players when they were laying there. Otis rolled over and the eyes went back in his head.

"I couldn't believe (LeFors) was the first one up and I put my arm around him and walked to the side and the first question I asked him was, 'What's your kid's name?' He could tell me and I said, 'Good, you can play.' For someone not being very big in stature (6-foot-1, 198 pounds), he's as physically tough as you're going to find. The thing that makes a lot of really good quarterbacks is just how tough they have to be with the licks that they take."

Floyd, who suffered a mild concussion, never returned.

"The hit was pretty hard," said backup quarterback Bryan Randall, who grabbed his helmet, ready to go in. "When he got hit, it was one of those where you want to look down and make sure he was all right. He came up shaken up a little bit but Stef is tough and fought through it.

"You know, as a quarterback, you always want to bounce up. You don't want to show pain and if we're able to go, that's what we're going to want to do."

LeFors, 28, suffered a sprained AC joint, which worsened as the game wore on. That affected his throws.

"Obviously, the shoulder was in my mind," said LeFors, who completed just seven of 19 passes for a pathetic 99 yards. "It was in my head and quite honestly, there were some times where I thought I could have thrown a little bit better. Maybe I was worrying about it getting hit on a follow-through and whatnot. So maybe, it caused my throwing technique to be altered a little bit. But I've still got to make a play when that opportunity presents itself.

"I've got to get better. I keep saying over and over again that it's going to come but it's got to come sooner than later."

Kelly is determined to help him get better by designing a better offensive scheme.

"We're looking at a couple of things that will put Stef in a little more comfortable position and allow us to put the ball in our playmakers' hands a little bit sooner, work with a little bit better rhythm and allow us to function in the pass game," he said.


Videos

Photos