Elbow, knee soreness kept star pass rusher Charleston Hughes out of Riders lineup

Aches, pains and playing the long game went into the Riders’ decision to sit star defensive end Charleston Hughes for Saskatchewan’s Week 14 win against Montreal.

“That was a close one because he could’ve played. But his elbow’s bothering him and he’s also got a knee that’s been giving him trouble,” head coach Craig Dickenson said.

“Nothing that’s too worrisome, but just enough stiffness and soreness that we felt like with Lavar [Edwards] and Earl Okine being healthy and ready to go that we would play the fresher, healthier guys.”

Hughes was listed as a starter on the initial depth chart Friday but the revised and last copy moved him out of the starting lineup to the one-game injured list. He had played in every game so far in 2019 until Saturday.

“We just weren’t quite sure. We gave him a vet day off on Day 2. I do that every once in a while and learned from other coaches a guy that’s played a long time you give him a day off once in a while,” Dickenson said.

“So he didn’t even practice Day 2, he was sore from the game Day 1. We just thought the soreness would go away and it just never did.”

The 35-year-old leads the CFL with 13 sacks in 11 games. Hughes has topped the league in quarterback takedowns four times in his career: 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Five straight seasons Hughes has notched double-digit sack totals and been a league all-star five times.

“We want to be fresh near the end, so if a guy is not 100 percent we have good depth, we’re going to play the good depth,” Dickenson said.

“And then we try to get Charleston this week off and then the bye week and hopefully he’d be right.”

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