CFL season delay allows Argos’ quarterback Matt Nichols shoulder rehab to take natural course

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Matt Nichols is experiencing the benefit of a delayed CFL schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The veteran pivot left Winnipeg’s Week 10 win against B.C. favouring his right arm and shoulder. Nichols was hurt when he was strip-sacked by Shawn Lemon in the fourth quarter of the Bombers’ 32-16 victory. Nichols had shoulder surgery last September.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s been helpful for me. I was pushing it very hard to be ready to go and I think that I was definitely on track to be ready to go on time, but now there’s no decision that had to be made or me going out there if I don’t feel 100 percent yet, there’s going to be none of that,” Nichols told TSN’s Matthew Scianitti.

“That ultimately has helped me physically, which I hate to say that something like this has been helpful because it’s such a devastating thing that’s happening. But overall for me and my health, I’ve been able to back off the rehab process and allow it to take a more natural course.”

The 32-year-old had an impressive 15-5 touchdown to interception ratio, but didn’t eclipsed the 300-yard mark in 2019. Nichols was playing consistent football, completing more than 71 per cent of his passes when he was on the field. Chris Streveler was the starter until the final game of the regular season when Zach Collaros took over and led the Bombers to their first Grey Cup championship in 29 years.

Through 10 CFL seasons, Nichols has passed for 18,363 yards, 108 touchdowns versus 60 interceptions while completing 66 percent of his attempts. He’s added 617 yards on 140 carries with 13 touchdowns on the ground. After Winnipeg chose Collaros over Nichols, the Argos signed him to a three-year contract in February.

If there is a CFL season in 2020, Nichols plans on starting at quarterback for Toronto with a healed and healthy right throwing shoulder.