It wasn’t an easy night for Cody Fajardo in the West Final — not only because his team lost but he was playing through a pretty serious injury.
Following the Riders 20-13 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Riders pivot told reporters that he played through the game with two torn oblique muscles.
“I have two torn muscles in my oblique that I played through today,” Fajardo said.
“Our medical staff did a great job of doing everything we could and I felt like I did everything I could to play out there. I felt like I was effective and I didn’t hold the team back as much as I thought.”
Heading into the game, all of the talk around Saskatchewan was the status of the team’s starting quarterback and whether he would play or not. Fajardo injured his back at practice before the team’s Week 21 game against the Edmonton Eskimos and didn’t play that week.
“I just wanted to try and do everything I can to help this team win. It doesn’t matter what the injury is, you got six months off after this to heal it and be ready for training camp. I was going to play through it regardless,” Fajardo said.
Fajardo led the Riders to a 12-4 record as the starter during the regular schedule. He threw for 4,302 yards while completing over 71 per cent of his passes with 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions in his first season as a No. 1 QB. The dual-threat pivot used his legs for 611 yards and 10 touchdowns on 107 rushing attempts, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
It’s hard to say how much of a factor Fajardo’s back was in the Riders loss as he still threw for 366 yards, completing nearly 66 per cent of his passes.
Fajardo added that there was never any doubt in his mind that he was going to play against the Bombers. Head coach Craig Dickenson also told reporters he was going to stick with Fajardo throughout the game.
Fajardo signed a lucrative two-year contract extension as the face of the franchise worth over $400,000 per season. He’ll have lots of time to heal in the off-season and be healthy for 2020.