Who will start behind centre? It’s 50/50

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:48 PM ET

Winnipeg’s starting quarterback could be revealed as late as the team’s first offensive play on Friday night.

Head coach Paul LaPolice said his starting pivot against the Tiger-Cats is still a 50/50 proposition. Either Steven Jyles will make his fourth consecutive start or Buck Pierce will return from a sprained right knee.

Jyles, who is 1-2 as the starter, took the bulk of the reps with the first-team offence on Wednesday, the team’s final practice of the week, but Pierce was moving the pocket and throwing with the second team.

“He had a good day,” LaPolice said of Pierce, who will dress on Friday night.

If Pierce is going to get the ball, LaPolice wants him to be able to move well enough to escape the clutches of defensive players, which would limit his chances of getting hurt. LaPolice said head athletic therapist Alain Couture will have “a lot of input” on whether Pierce plays.

“Alain does a great job of getting us informed on what each guy has and when he can be ready,” LaPolice said. “If (the knee) is stable and he’s just got some soreness that he has to work through, that’s something you could be comfortable with.”

Dating back to last season when he was with the B.C. Lions, Pierce has been healthy for only nine of his last 19 games. So he wants to play, but he’s going to let the experts make the decision.

“That’s why we have trainers and that’s why we have guys that you have to answer to,” said Pierce, who will wear a brace if he plays. “I’ve been a victim of (coming back too early) quite a few times. You know, pressure on me to go out there and play when it wasn’t 100%. Sometimes that results in a lacklustre performance by the individual.

“… I just want to get out there and play again. I just want to go out there and compete and hopefully give our team a good chance to be successful.”

Pierce didn’t have an answer when asked how healthy his knee actually was.

“I’m not very good at that percentage stuff,” he said. “My head’s 100%, so I’m good.”

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