Dickenson hopeful Shaq Evans will return after bye week to ‘add a little juice’ to Riders’ offence

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach Craig Dickenson has ruled out the possibility of Shaq Evans returning from injury this weekend against Calgary, but feels hopeful that he will be back in the lineup following the club’s Week 11 bye.

“I think it’s steady as she goes. I don’t know where he’s at on the six-game but he’s not able to practice yet. He’s catching some balls, but with that foot I think he’s still two to three weeks away from being able to run on it like he needs to,” said Dickenson.

Evans suffered a broken foot in Week 2 against Hamilton while blocking on Cody Fajardo’s second quarter touchdown run. He has missed the past five games and it appears he will miss two more before the team’s upcoming bye week.

Canadian rookie Kian Schaffer-Baker has stepped up to replace Evans at boundary wide receiver, making 24 catches for 293 yards and one touchdown. Former NFL draft pick Ricardo Louis also pitched in recently, enjoying a breakout game in a recent win over B.C.

Despite the impressive play of his team’s young receivers, Dickenson believes the offence has lost a step with Evans out of the lineup.

“I think we’ve lost a little bit without Shaq, I really do,” he said. “He was a vertical threat out there, but I do think the other guys have stepped up and played well. Getting him back will definitely add a little juice to our offence and I know that we’re excited to have him back.”

Evans was named a CFL all-star in 2019 after making 72 receptions for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns. He made eight catches for 87 yards early this season in what was essentially six quarters of play.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.