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Travis Lulay says knee is “upwards of 90 per cent” could be ready to start this week

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Travis Lulay and his knee could be ready if Lions head coach Wally Buono wants to start him at quarterback against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.

“I would say if the week of practice goes well and I have more confidence even than I did a week ago when we declared myself ready, I’ve been on the roster but obviously, my role had been more of a managing and finishing the game should injuries happen. This is part of the natural progression, you go from there to when I’m feeling really good and getting through it,” Lulay said on Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver.

“If the week were to go well there’s a chance of that. Every week we would reassess after the week of work and how it responded, how my confidence level is in it, making sure that strength is where it needs to be, so that’s where we’re at. So I guess I wouldn’t be able to declare that today, I would say I would optimistically go into this week and evaluate as the days of work go by.”

The 34-year-old suffered a season-ending ACL injury last September against the Montreal Alouettes. Current starter Jonathon Jennings has struggled to begin the season, managing just 487 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in three games with the Lions at 1-2, last place in the West Division, which has put pressure on B.C. and in turn Lulay.

“The knee is coming along, I’ve been really, really, encouraged by the last few weeks and we’re kind of to that point now where it’s just a matter of closing that gap on that last five or 10 per cent. I hate putting numbers on it but confidently I would say I’m upwards of 90 per cent, feeling pretty good, last week practice went great so hoping for more of that this week,” Lulay said.

Lulay dressed for the first time in 2018 when the Lions travelled to Edmonton and again in Week 4 against Winnipeg when B.C. lost the game 41-19 with Jennings getting intercepted twice and throwing for just 105 yards in the defeat. That was Jennings worst performance of the season and he’s failed to reach 200 passing yards in a game this season.

“Last week was my first week of really full-go practising as if I was a normal player on the roster, the previous couple weeks I had – coming right out of training camp the first week of the season I was a bit more limited and then going into the bye did some more treatment and came back during the bye week and started elevating my participation in practice. Last week was good, full-go live against the defence,” Lulay said.

“Honestly, if I wasn’t wearing a knee brace and you didn’t know any different and you watched me cut on the practice film you probably wouldn’t know. My function looks full-go, so it’s just a matter of continuing to build strength and confidence to close that last five or 10 per cent.”

All 10 seasons Lulay has been in the CFL he’s played in B.C. passing for 18,858 yards, 114 touchdowns against 64 interceptions with a 63.9 completion rate and 94.2 QB rating. He’s battled through injury before and seems upbeat about how the knee is progressing.

“I’ve been really encouraged each of the last couple weeks I’ve said has felt like my best week yet, even today – a couple times a week I really challenge the change of direction, it helps strengthen it and gives me further confidence – and I was running around pretty wild and free today, so it felt really good, got a little bit of extra confidence going into this week of work,” Lulay said.

“We’re going to take it week-by-week and reevaluate every week, last week we upped the volume and it responded well so hoping for more of that same progress this week.”

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