Buck Pierce was the first player to step on the field for Winnipeg Blue Bomber practice Tuesday, wearing his full armour and a size-large grin.
He zinged passes to receivers while working with the No. 1 offence for long stretches -- Joey Elliott also took reps with the same unit -- but the club has yet to make any official declaration as to who will line up behind centre for Friday's game against the Argonauts.
"If Buck's healthy, he'll be ready to go," said Elliott after practice. "I don't know the verdict on that yet, they haven't let me know so I'm sure you guys will find out probably before I do... that's how the Twitter works.
"(Pierce) looked good. He was going through his reps with the 1s (first-team offence) and I'm pretty sure he'll be ready to go."
But 'pretty sure' is not official confirmation, something the club likely won't make known until today -- their last full practice in advance of the game in Toronto. Pierce was not made available to the media after practice.
"Nothing is new," said head coach Tim Burke. "He's cleared to practise, but he hasn't been cleared to play yet. So I'm sure they'll evaluate him after practice, see what they think after that and we'll find out (Wednesday) what they think.
"I thought he looked pretty good. He's just so smooth with the ball. I was pretty pleased with what I saw."
Pierce has appeared in just five games this year, the last a loss to the Argos on Sept. 29 when he took a helmet-to-chin hit from linebacker Brandon Isaac -- a shot for which Isaac was fined by the CFL -- and suffered a concussion. Pierce has completed 63.1 per cent of his passes for 735 yards with three TDs and three picks.
The uncertainty over who gets the start does put Elliott -- who went from being named the CFL's offensive player of the week to throwing four interceptions in Saturday's loss to Calgary -- in a bit of a tough spot. It's not just the mental strain of not knowing if he'll start, but sharing work with the No. 1-offensive unit also takes away from preparation time.
"I'm used to it. It's a tough situation to be in," Elliott said. "I'm still upset about the (Stampeder) loss and letting my teammates down and I want to have a better performance for myself. It's the second week that (not knowing) has happened. I'm going to prepare just like I have the whole year.
"You're always one play away and never know what's going to happen and so you've got to take care of your duties."
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