‘Why risk it?’: Riders’ QB Trevor Harris held out of victory for precautionary reasons after suffering knee injury

Photo courtesy: Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards/Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Trevor Harris exited his team’s Week 3 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats late in the first half, but head coach Corey Mace is not concerned about the severity of the injury.

“I haven’t sat down with him but I talked to him at halftime and he was in pretty good spirits,” Mace told the Regina media post-game. “And then in the second half, he was in my ear saying, ‘Coach, I can go’ but we wanted to play it just a little bit safe.”

The 38-year-old pivot took a shot from defensive end Nick Usher after delivering a dump-off pass to running back A.J. Ouellette with 51 seconds remaining in the half. He initially tried to get up but returned to the turf with an apparent left knee injury.

Harris had completed 16-of-21 pass attempts for 177 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception at the time of his injury, helping build an 18-7 lead for the home team. Though he was able to get to the sideline under his own power, he left immediately for the locker room before the half concluded and was replaced by backup Shea Patterson for the final series.

The Michigan product played the entire second half and completed four-of-10 passes for 41 yards in the most significant action of his CFL career. The 27-year-old added a one-yard touchdown plunge to help the Riders to a 36-20 win.

Harris returned to the sideline shortly after the start of the third quarter wearing a brace on his left knee. Though he was seen warming up on multiple occasions throughout the second half, he was never allowed to return to the game by the coaching staff for precautionary reasons.

“Why risk it? We love Trevor, it’s a long season, but we’re confident with what Shea has provided for us to this point,” Mace said. “Certainly, we were still able to maintain the lead and move the field and execute the offence. I didn’t see any point in letting Trevor go back in the game.”

Harris joined the Riders in 2023 but was limited to just five games before suffering a tibial plateau fracture on his right leg. The break required surgery and ended his inaugural season in Regina, leaving him with 1,274 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions on the year.

Since returning to the field this year, the native of Waldo, Oh. has gone 70-of-97 for 872 yards, seven touchdowns, and three picks. In 12 CFL seasons with Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Montreal, and Saskatchewan, Harris has thrown for 30,756 yards, 167 touchdowns, and 78 interceptions.

While Mace could not provide an official diagnosis immediately following the game, he made clear that his decision to keep his quarterback on the bench should not be viewed as an indication that he will miss any more time.

“I thought Shea was there moving the ball very well to get us out of the game headed into the bye week and just give Trevor some more rest,” Mace said. “But the way he was acting, it sounded like he was ready to go.”

The Riders (3-0) and Harris will get a chance to recoup from their injuries with a bye in Week 4, before returning to action on Thursday, July 4 against the Toronto Argonauts.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with files from contributor Brendan McGuire.