Pulled back muscle keeps QB Cody Fajardo out of practice, status for Saturday in doubt

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday due to a pulled back muscle according to head coach Craig Dickenson.

“He pulled a muscle in his back during practice. We just wanted to play it safe with him, he’s getting treatment. We’re hopeful he can play,” Dickenson said.

“He just felt something tighten up in his back. If he can play, he’ll play. Basically just see how he feels, it’s going to be his call, if he feels fine, he’ll play, if he feels like he can’t be effective he won’t.”

It will be up to Fajardo whether he plays on Saturday in the regular season finale at Mosaic Stadium against Edmonton. If Fajardo can’t go rookie Isaac Harker and Bryan Bennett are each likely to see action.

Saskatchewan held a closed practice on Wednesday that’s when Fajardo suffered the ailment, but he still fulfilled his media obligations after being named the Riders’ nominee for the Most Outstanding Player award.

Fajardo completed 25-of-35 passes for 429 yards — his second 400-plus yard performance of the season — and two touchdowns versus the Eskimos in Week 20 as he improved the win-loss record as a starting QB to 12-4. He signed a lucrative two-year contract extension prior to the Riders Week 20 game in the Alberta capital worth over $400,000 per season.

“If Cody can’t play we’ll play Isaac and Bryan both,” Dickenson said. “We feel confident in Isaac and Bryan to get it done.”

Harker has seen action in three games so far in 2019. He’s completed 21-of-33 passes (64 percent) for 254 yards while being intercepted three times. The 24-year-old hasn’t taken the field in a live game since Week 13 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Bennett hasn’t thrown a pass for the Riders yet, but he’s run the ball 11 times for 56 yards and one touchdown. Later that year, Bennett when Bennett was with the Bombers, he played in two career games completing 4-of-8 passes for 72 yards and rushing twice for 34 yards.

The Riders are one win away from the West Division regular season title.

“We’re not going to do something that’s going to jeopardize our chances in the next game, but all that being said this is an important game,” Dickenson said.

“We want to win the West, we want to have a chance to host the West Final, so we’re going to play our best guys.”

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