LaPolice keeping QB decision under wraps

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:05 PM ET

Buck Pierce, the starting quarterback when the season started, suffered a knee sprain, then tried to rush back only to be sidelined again.

Steven Jyles, who replaced the injured Pierce as the starter, suffered some kind of rib injury that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers kept under wraps until just recently. In fact, there were reports Jyles actually suffered broken ribs.

Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice has yet to decide which quarterback will start against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the annual Labour Day Classic in Regina on Sunday, but neither one will be the picture of health when he takes that first snap.

Both Pierce and Jyles, by the way, did practise when the Bombers returned from a bye week Tuesday.

"It feels good," said Pierce, who has missed four games due the wonky knee. "I was able to get in a lot of throws (Tuesday). They didn't want to send me to the wolves right away but I felt good moving around and I did some good things, I think. My weight transfer was good on the pass and it's getting better. I'll be confident whatever day they call me to do the job "¶ I'll be ready to go."

Of course, Pierce would likely tell you he's ready to go if both legs and arms were in casts. He hounded LaPolice to give him the go-ahead when Winnipeg played host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Aug. 13th. He failed to finish the match because the injury affected his mobility.

"It feels a lot better than it did before," assured Pierce, 28. "We had the bye week and having the time off to rest it is big "¶ It feels quite a bit better than it did the last week when I tried to push it."

But forgive LaPolice if he is even more careful this go-round.

"I've got to see how Buck is (Wednesday)," he said. "If he's really sore, that might be a problem "¶ We want to make sure "¶. With Buck Pierce, one of his strengths is mobility and if he doesn't have that, you've got to be cautious in putting him back in."

Like Pierce, Jyles claimed he is also ready to fly.

"Oh yeah, I'd be ready to go and I told coach, knowing the situation with Buck "¶ I'd be ready if you need me," he said.

Jyles, 27, shrugged off concerns about his rib woes. In fact, he would not even admit they were bruised.

"I just like to say I'm sore," he said. "But it's nothing to keep me out. When guys get bruised ribs, they sit out a ball game "¶ It's not an issue at all. I told coach, if he calls on me to play, I'm ready to play. It won't keep me out."

It did, however, keep him from swinging a club at the Bomber golf tournament and LaPolice plans to keep a close eye on him, too.

"He's got a flak jacket or two on, I know, and those are things a lot of quarterbacks have to play through," he said. "So, we'll see and evaluate. If it's something that's going to affect his throwing motion, you'd have to think about possibly making a change. He threw the ball pretty well (Tuesday) "¶ (and) he had sore ribs in the game in Montreal."

Jyles also fumbled the ball away three times in Montreal.

Jyles is anxious to play against his former teammates in Riderville.

"I can't wait," he said. "I know a lot of guys there and I've sat on the other side there before so I know what to expect from the crowd and I'm excited to get back there. Not so much Saskatchewan, but it's our next ball game. We feel pretty good about everything. We know that it's the little things that's hurting us and we can't wait to get out there and make up for it against Saskatchewan."


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