Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bombers QB ready to play despite banging throwing hand

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Drew Willy will be under centre this Sunday when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers head into the hornet’s nest that is Regina for the Labour Day Classic.

As to how sore his throwing hand is after banging it on a defender’s helmet at practice on Thursday, well, that’s a mystery that will remain a secret between him and head athletic therapist, Al Couture.

"I plan on being out there," Willy said Friday after a lightning-delayed Bomber practice at Investors Group Field. "I’m looking forward to the game and being out there with my teammates.

"I’ll be ready to go. That’s all I’m going to say about it."

Willy clanged his hand on a rushing Don Unamba near the end of practice on Thursday, an incident that immediately sent alarm bells off in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan in advance of the annual Labour Day Classic. The same storyline has unfolded west, where Darian Durant has had his reps with the No. 1 Rider offence limited after he hurt his hand in last week’s win over B.C.

"It’s just one of those plays during practice," said Willy. "I can’t really explain… you’d have to see the film. My hand got hit, that’s really all I can say about it.

"I wasn’t happy about it, for sure, but it’s football. We just need to move on and go from there."

Asked if he was scared in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Willy added: "I was more frustrated about it, because getting hurt in practice… you never want that to happen."

The Bombers conducted just a basic walk-through session on Friday, with very few deep throws. Willy, who normally wears a glove on his throwing hand, went without one on Friday.

"I just really wanted to see the most pain I could feel in the finger," said Willy. "That’s the reason I did that.

"I plan on being out there. That’s really all I’m going to say about it."

The Bombers will likely make just two changes to their starting lineup, moving Jarvis Jones in at right guard for Pat Neufeld (leg) while E.J. Kuale will return to middle linebacker for Abe Kromah. Jason Vega, who is healthy, will not dress as Kashawn Fraser was solid in last week’s win over Montreal.

"I’ve heard a lot about it, about the atmosphere and what the fans bring to the stands and stuff," said Jones, who will make his first start of the season. "I’m eager to see how it goes."

Jones was expected to start at tackle at the beginning of the season, but was moved around from both the right and left side and eventually lost his job to Dan Knapp, who has since been replaced by Cordaro Howard.

"The coaches and the organization felt they wanted to go in a different way," said Jones. "The only thing I could have done was be humble in the experience and whenever they call me up, be ready. It was time for me to work on my corrections and handle it in stride."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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