The latest episode of the daily drama known as When will Buck Pierce return? revealed that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback is getting closer to returning to game action.
Just how close?
Well, that’s anybody’s guess — and at this stage of the proceedings, it’s nothing more than that, unless you have a crystal ball or secretly know how Pierce’s right knee is going to respond after his most rigorous workout since suffering the sprain in Week 3 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
However, the fact Pierce was back in pads and participating in full practice was another stage in the road to recovery.
“This was the first time in two weeks that I pushed it that hard,” said Pierce, who completed 52 of 79 passes for 774 yards and five touchdowns and rushed 13 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns in three games with the Blue and Gold before the injury. “I think it’ll respond well. You just have to get comfortable with it again. It’s not going to feel 100%, that’s something that I realize. But can I function with it at a high level and can I do the things that allow me to be a successful quarterback?
“There are steps and (this) was a big step.”
During the workout, which lasted just over two hours at Canad Inns Stadium, Pierce moved much more freely and he isn’t overly concerned about needing to shake off much rust.
“Man, I’m able to do stuff, like drop back and transfer the weight and that’s something they didn’t really want me to do in the last week,” said Pierce. “Last week, they really wanted me to stay off it and get the treatments.
“My goal was actually to be doing what I was doing (Tuesday) and it feels good. Hopefully, I can do that much more (Wednesday).”
It should be noted that Steven Jyles was running the first-team offence for most of practice and Pierce was working with the scout team, but keep in mind that was by design as well.
For those interested in reading anything into that fact, here’s what LaPolice had to say when asked if he was leaning toward starting Jyles for the third consecutive week?
“I would not say that. No,” said LaPolice. “I would not say which way I’m leaning at all. It’s right in the middle. We’ll keep seeing it every day.”
LaPolice was impressed by Pierce’s performance on the field and is eager to see how his body responds the day after.
“Buck threw the ball well,” said LaPolice. “The big question is going to be his mobility in the pocket. You can try to keep him in the pocket, but the problem is that if he has to move and run away from people, you don’t want him to get hit. That’s my biggest concern.
“You want him to have good mobility and that’s something we’ll keep looking at each day and try to make a good decision. We don’t want this (injury) to re-occur.”
LaPolice said it would be a collective effort — presumably between himself, team doctors and Pierce — in determining whether or not Pierce is ready to get back in action this Saturday at Ivor Wynne Stadium against the Tiger-Cats.
Pierce wasn’t ready to commit to playing this weekend just yet, but you can tell he’s itching to return to game action.
“We’ll see how (Wednesday) feels, that’s a big indicator because I did quite a bit (Tuesday),” said Pierce, noting there would be considerable treatment done between Tuesday and Wednesday’s workouts. “I feel confident in it. My arm still feels fine and I’m still seeing things well. I think I know this offence well, but we’ll see what happens and we’ll see how it continues to progress.”