Riders’ QB Cody Fajardo ‘hasn’t been cleared for full go yet’ but Riders hopeful for Friday

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo has made progress within concussion protocol, although he hasn’t been given the go-ahead for Week 7, yet.

The Riders gradually increased his physical workload at practice while preparing to host the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night. Head coach Craig Dickenson elected to close practice to the media on Wednesday, the final day of real on-field preparation.

“He had about half the reps yesterday and he probably took two-thirds today. That’s all you can do is give him a few more reps and get the other guys some reps as well and ask him afterwards: ‘How did you feel? Are our having any symptoms?’ And so far, so good,” Dickenson said.

“We increased his repetitions a little bit today and he looked fine. We think he’s going to be alright. He still has to get through a few things in terms of the protocol, but we feel like he should be able to go for the game.”

Dickenson added if Fajardo isn’t cleared for action, Isaac Harker would start with Paxton Lynch dressing as the backup quarterback. Harker finished the 2021 Banjo Bowl after Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive lineman Willie Jefferson took Fajardo down for a sack and banged his head into the IG Field turf.

“It’s not quite as vague as COVID protocols, but concussion protocol our medical people handle it. You make sure they’re not having any headaches, you make sure they feel fine after workouts and then you just gradually increase the workload — you keep checking in with them and making sure that they feel fine,” Dickenson said.

“If they do feel fine, you can increase it a little bit more. If there is any setback at all, you gotta go back to square one. My understanding of it is that you start with a little and give them a little more and so on and so forth. He’s still within the protocol, he hasn’t been cleared for full go yet, but we’re hoping we can get there by game day.”

The 29-year-old QB was wobbly after absorbing the collision with Jefferson and ground. He was escorted off the field by trainers and after being assessed on the bench did not return to the 33-9 loss to Winnipeg. The Riders are monitoring how Fajardo responds from physical activity to determine his status.

“To even get on the field, you gotta be your normal self and then continue when you practice or do some sort of physical workout,” Dickenson said.

“The guys that don’t practice haven’t cleared the first stage of protocol, which is do you feel fine? They may have a headache or feel light-headed or be a little dizzy, if you have any of that you’re not going to see the field at all.”

Saskatchewan was happy to hear from the franchise man that he’s improving each day while the green and white hope Fajardo can start versus the East Division-leading Argos.

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