Buck back in business

Buck Pierce will be back under centre this weekend when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers face the Toronto...

Buck Pierce will be back under centre this weekend when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers face the Toronto Argonauts. (Marcel Cretain/QMI Agency)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Buck Pierce is good to go.

Winnipeg’s No. 1 quarterback has recovered from a bruised left quadriceps and will make his 43rd career start on Saturday in Toronto when the Bombers (2-1) battle the Argonauts (1-2) at Rogers Centre.

“I’m going to take some hits in the game. You always do when you play Toronto,” Pierce said. “But I feel fine. I feel up to it, and I feel good enough to go out there and perform at a very high level.”

“I feel good enough to play, and I’m going to play. Everything’s good, 100%.”

Pierce left last Thursday’s 21-20 loss to the Calgary Stampeders at halftime. He suffered the injury on a late hit from Robert McCune, and the Bombers didn’t want him to aggravate the injury in the second half.

Pierce practised the last three days, and head coach Paul LaPolice felt the 29-year-old was moving well enough on Thursday to play against the Boatmen.

“Buck was fine today,” LaPolice said. “There was no soreness from yesterday. He was able to move fine today, so he’ll start.”

LaPolice said there will be no changes to the offensive game plan as it pertains to Pierce’s movement. The coach said he is free to move the launch point, even though that’s how he got injured last week. Pierce also sprained his knee in Hamilton last season while on the run.

“There’s nothing you can do when he throws the ball and the guy hits him,” LaPolice said. “That’s a safe protection where we get him on the move and get him running around.

“(Last week) one of the receivers didn’t get open. We’d just tell him to throw it a little earlier. He did throw it early, though. The guy took two steps and hit him.”

The spotlight on Pierce’s quadriceps was brighter this week because the team lost backup Joey Elliott to a torn anterior cruciate ligament last week against the Stamps. Alex Brink, who has one forgetful start on his CFL resume, will be Pierce’s backup in Toronto. Third-stringer Justin Goltz has never thrown a pass in a CFL regular-season game.

Dating back to last season, Pierce has thrown at least one interception in seven consecutive games and has just three touchdown tosses in his last six starts.

His quarterback efficiency rating this season is a CFL-worst 60.5. LaPolice doesn’t care about the numbers, though.

“Around him we need to continue to play better, and I think Buck needs to play better,” LaPolice said. “He’s put us in a position to be 2-1 right now, and he’s really just continuing to lead our offence. I don’t want to get into how many stats we have. I just want to continue to find ways to win and put ourselves in position to win.

“If that’s scoring 50 points, great. If that’s scoring 21 points with zero turnovers, great. He’s been a very good leader for our guys.”


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