As Drew Willy slowly made his way off the practice field on Thursday afternoon, the cold, wet rain that had soaked the Toronto Argonauts all day didn’t actually pick up. It just felt like it.
Willy had his starting status for Sunday’s game in Montreal against the Alouettes — his first start since being traded to Toronto on Sept. 11 — thrown up in the air when he was hurt near the halfway point of Thursday’s practice.
He walked with a team trainer to the locker room, showing no obvious signs of discomfort. At the doorstep to the room, he did two slow throwing motions with the trainer and then disappeared for the rest of the day.
Dan LeFevour, who had started the previous three games for the Argos, finished out the day with the first-team offence.
“He got a little knick. I’m not going to discuss too much,” Argos coach Scott Milanovich said, after Willy had taken shelter from the rain.
“He may not be back (Friday). We’ll have to see how the injury kind of handles itself overnight and see how he feels about it (Friday). It’s nothing serious.”
Asked if starting LeFevour on Sunday was a possibility, Milanovich said he’d have to wait and see.
“If we had to play today, Dan would be the guy,” he said.
Willy saw his first action as an Argonaut last week in Ottawa. He relieved LeFevour at halftime and completed 16 of 24 passes for 153 yards with one touchdown in the Argos’ 29-12 loss. It was the team’s second loss in a row, dropping them to 5-8 and third place in the CFL’s East Division.
LeFevour, meanwhile, would love the chance to undo his showing in last Friday’s game, the least effective of his three starts. He completed 13 of 19 passes for just 72 yards and had one interception,` while rushing three times for 25 yards.
“Every opportunity is a good opportunity,” he said. “I’ve just got to be more consistent and probably more aggressive. I thought there was pressure (against the Redblacks) when there wasn’t at times. It was a good experience, a great learning experience for me.”
Thursday’s rain and the Willy injury — however significant it might be — hammered home the harsh turn the Argos’ season has taken. At the end of July, they were 4-2, working out under a scorching hot sun, in excellent position in the East Division. With Ricky Ray suffering two serious injuries, they’ve gone 1-6 over the last two months and now sit third in the East, at risk of being bumped out of the playoffs thanks to the strong possibility of a West Division crossover.
Sunday’s game against the 3-9 Montreal is the Argos’ final one against an East opponent. It only gets more difficult from there. In their final four games, they’ll see 11-1-1 Calgary twice and will catch a Saskatchewan team that has won two in a row (but is still 3-10). They wrap up the schedule on Nov. 5 in Edmonton, where it’s possible that the winner of that game would get the final playoff spot in the East.
“We know it’s not going to be easy,” Milanovich said. “We have to start somewhere to get on a bit of a roll and string together a few wins and get in. I think this (week) is huge, as far as just starting to get the ball rolling in the right direction.”
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