Thu, 20 Jan 2022

Injury concerns color Blue Bombers-Roughriders playoff matchup

Field Level Media
04 Dec 2021, 16:55 GMT+10

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders twice during the regular season, but they will need to do so again Sunday afternoon to advance to the Grey Cup game.

The winner of Saturday's West Division final will play for the CFL championship in Hamilton on Dec. 12.

Winnipeg outscored Saskatchewan 56-17 in the meetings between the teams, both in September. The Roughriders didn't score a touchdown in either game.

Injury questions hang over both teams.

Saskatchewan defensive end A.C. Leonard (hip), who led the league with 11 regular-season sacks, could be a game-time decision after being injured in practice on Thursday. He did not participate in practice on Friday.

Roughriders receiver Duke Williams (turf toe) appeared briefly at practice on Friday.

"We think he'll play but, if he can't, we'll have to bring an extra receiver and go from there," Saskatchewan coach Craig Dickenson said.

Winnipeg tailback Andrew Harris (knee) did not participate in practice on Friday. He was a full participant on Wednesday but was limited on Thursday. Harris, who has not played in more than six weeks, rushed for 623 yards this season, averaging 5.37 yards per carry.

"I'm not really interested in going through all the roster stuff," Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea said. "It's that time of year. We'll give Andrew as much time as we can before we have to make a decision."

If Harris is out, Winnipeg could use Brady Oliveira and Johnny Augustine, both of whom had 100-yard rushing games this season and ranked in the top 20 in CFL rushing.

Saskatchewan quarterback Cody Fajardo will need to improve his game. He threw four interceptions Sunday in the Roughriders' 33-30 overtime victory over the Calgary Stampeders in the West semifinal at Regina. He was 22 of 33 for 189 yards passing and a touchdown, and he ran for 89 yards and a score.

Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros led the CFL in passing touchdowns (20) and was second in passing yards (3,185) this season.

The Blue Bombers had a bye in the first playoff round. They played three regular-season games after clinching first place in the West.

"This week went by very fast," O'Shea said. "It was quick. It was good. Players want it, they want to get going."

--Field Level Media

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