Riders’ QB Cody Fajardo suffers ‘major setback’ to injured left knee, status for next week uncertain

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Cody Fajardo had only one word to describe the state of his left knee following the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ 30-24 loss to the Toronto Argonauts in Nova Scotia.


The Riders’ franchise quarterback has been sporting a brace since Week 2 of the 2022 season and had been hopeful entering the Touchdown Atlantic game that he might be on the road to recovery after not receiving a shot to his knee last week.

All of that changed early in the second quarter when Argos’ defensive tackle Shawn Oakman fought through a holding call and crawled through the quarterback’s left leg for a sack.

“This is the second time I’ve taken a hit to the leg and no call has been [given] or last time we got a call but there was no fine, no talk, no reprimand,” Fajardo stressed. “If you’re going to call it even, call it even.”

“If I got a penalty there, it wouldn’t make it feel any better. But it would have kept us on the football field.”

Fajardo was in serious discomfort following the hit and had a noticeable limp for the remainder of the game. Despite the obviously low nature of the contact, Saskatchewan was unsuccessful in their effort to challenge for roughing the passer, holding the team to a Brett Lauther field goal.

Post-game a visibly upset Fajardo expressed dissatisfaction over what he views as a pattern of non-calls when it comes to low shots to his injured leg.

“It’s player safety that is on the line and I’m pretty frustrated about it. I’m sure you can hear it in my voice but that’s twice now that it’s been the same knee. Who knows if it’s targeting on my knee, but everybody knows because of the media and you guys talking about it,” Fajardo said.

“Everybody knows I’m not playing at 100 percent and they know which knee is the injured knee, so I’m just going to leave that up for everybody else to think about.”

The results of those hits have been catastrophic and after battling through the pain for several weeks, Fajardo may be on the brink of missing time. While he finished the game, throwing completing 24-of-34 passes for 284 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, his status for the rematch with Toronto in Week 7 is very much uncertain.

“We’ll see how I wake up. I’ll tell you this much, it was a lot worse than the last time I felt it,” Fajardo said. “I thought I was on the right path, you go through this and you’ve got to make a business decision as well, because you don’t want to be out there jeopardizing your team.”

In fact, the ramifications of his current knee problems could be much larger than originally anticipated. Asked if the 30-year-old QB could see continuing to play on his injured knee affecting his career longevity, an exasperated Fajardo responded.

“We’ll see. I don’t know. If it keeps happening week after week, I don’t know what’s going to happen, how much longer my knee can take this. I have to go back and talk to the doc, I haven’t talked to the doc yet, but we’ll see where we’re at. This is a major setback for me from where I was last week,” Fajardo said.

Despite the serious nature of the injury, head coach Craig Dickenson does not believe he erred in keeping Fajardo on the field.

“I’d have a fight on my hands if I tried to take him out. He wants to finish the game,” Dickenson quipped. “If I ever felt like he couldn’t effectively run the offense or was in threat of injuring himself further, I definitely would do that but he still was moving good enough to do what he needed to do.”

The coach will continue to put his faith in Fajardo to make the right decisions for his own health and follow the advice of the medical staff.

“I trust him and if he tells me he can go, he’s going as long as he’s not putting himself in danger of getting hurt,” Dickenson stressed.

For Fajardo, missing time would be an absolute last resort and he intends to continue pushing through injury for as long as he can.

“I take pride in being one of the toughest quarterbacks in this league and if I can walk and if I can run, if I can jog, I want to be out there with my guys,” he emphasized.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.