WINNIPEG - He promised to be out just four weeks, and it turned out to be eight.
No. 1 quarterback Buck Pierce better be more accurate with his passing arm as he returns to the Blue Bomber lineup this Friday against Hamilton.
Pierce, coming off a major left foot injury, joins the Bombers a little late to make a realistic push for a playoff spot.
At 2-9, that ship is well on its way out of the harbour.
But No. 4 hopes he can bring an attitude adjustment to a team that needs one like a drowning man needs a life preserver.
"I'm going to play the only game I know how to play, and that's hard," Pierce said, Monday. "I'm going to do everything in my power to bust my ass and put us in a spot to win the ball game. That's my job. Whatever it takes at this point."
Winless in three games as the season-opening starter, Pierce watched from the sidelines as the Bombers went 2-6 without him.
But the offence hasn't scored a touchdown in 13 quarters and its quarterbacks haven't thrown for a major in four games.
"I don't think the quarterbacks have played very well," interim head coach Tim Burke said.
Expecting Pierce to single-handedly turn the ship around might be too much to ask — but he's going to try.
"If I had one thing that I could help instill in our guys is never lose that hunger, never lose that fight that has got you to this point," Pierce said. "Sometimes when things are going bad, it's easy to let other influences affect your play. That's not going to happen this week. We're going to pay hard."
Asked about the "other influence," Pierce simply pointed to the scoreboard — and his team's propensity to cave under adversity.
"It's losing. Losing breeds negativity," he said. "We're all here to do our job away from our families. It's tough enough when you're winning. When you add the fact we're getting beat and getting beat badly at times, it's tough to handle, mentally.
"I want our guys to be mentally tougher down this last stretch of the season."
Insisting offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton's game plans can work, Pierce says the offence won't change now that he's back.
"I'm just going to try and execute it better."
When you lose back-to-back road games by a combined score of 96-3, it suggests the team's character might be as suspect as the X's and O's.
"Everybody has to look at themselves," Pierce said. "What do they want to do? Do they want to continue to put that kind of stuff on film? Because that's their character. And if I see something going on that I don't think should be going on, then I'll address that.
"I know what it takes to win in this league. We have guys in this locker-room and in this organization that know what it takes. And we're not going to put up with that."