Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Cody Fajardo has a 50/50 chance of playing against the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday, according to head coach Craig Dickenson.
Fajardo was sacked by defensive tackle Shawn Oakman early in the second quarter of Saskatchewan’s recent 30-24 loss to the Argos. The veteran quarterback felt Oakman should have been penalized as his arm was wrapped around Fajardo’s lower left leg, causing him to suffer a “major setback” to an existing knee injury for which he’s been wearing a brace since Week 2.
The play was not penalized after it happened live, nor was Toronto charged with roughing the passer following an unsuccessful challenge by Dickenson. The third-year head coach still believes the hit should have drawn a flag.
“What I saw on the field was a low hit. What I’ve been told is the standard that the CFL applies is it’s up to the defensive player to control his body when going to the ground and when he went to the ground and crawled and hit Cody low, I thought that was a no-brainer. I really thought we’d get that. It wasn’t explained to me what they saw in the booth,” Dickenson told CKRM in Regina.
“We’re not happy with that and we’re not happy with a lot of things that have happened in the last couple weeks, but I’m not going to air my dirty laundry in public. I wish others would follow the same guideline. They don’t always — that’s their prerogative — but I don’t air dirty laundry. I try to take care of it behind closed doors.”
The Riders were originally scheduled to begin practicing on Tuesday, though an outbreak of COVID-19 forced them to cancel the first day of practice. As such, Fajardo’s status will likely not be officially updated until Wednesday.
The 30-year-old completed 24-of-34 of his passes for 284 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in Wolfville, N.S. His second interception proved costly as weak-side linebacker Wynton McManis returned it 50 yards for the game-winning touchdown with less than three minutes remaining.
Fajardo’s knee injury is affecting his game to the point that some critics believe he needs to be rested. He opened the season with 42 rushing yards in a win over Hamilton but has since rushed for just 56 yards over the past five games. He has rushed for 16.3 yards per game this season, which is less than half of the 36.0 yards he averaged in 2021.
Mason Fine would likely start for the Riders if Fajardo is unable to play on Saturday. The second-year quarterback has dressed for seven career CFL games as a backup, completing 12-of-18 pass attempts for 147 yards, one touchdown and one interception.