Travis Lulay and Mike Benevides will share a sideline during games for at least another two weeks, and for two members of the B.C. Lions who have all-in personality traits it might not be as easy at it sounds.
The injured starting quarterback and the CFL team’s coach met Monday and determined Lulay would sit out at least until an Oct. 19 road date against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
That decision furthered the belief that the club was fairly sure that the quarterback would be out a month when he suffered a shoulder subluxation on Sept. 15, and that providing updates in two-week bites would only soften the impact of Lulay’s absence.
What has also resulted, however, is that Lulay has spent time in ways not normally expected of an injured player. Before and during the Lions’ game Friday in Winnipeg, the injured quarterback was running on the sidelines, doing strength exercises and basically doing anything to keep himself both in recovery mode and in a position where he is helping.
“When we had my sit-down this morning I said ‘man, you’re like me’. I’m always up and down the sideline,” Benevides said. “(Lulay) goes, ‘no, you’re like me’. We were like ships in the night.”
It is not a normal scenario, as injured players are usually neither seen nor heard, but being there for Thomas DeMarco and Buck Pierce is merely Lulay’s way of coping.
“If I can’t be on the field, I can still add a little bit of value,” Lulay said. “I owe at least that much to Thomas and the rest of the offensive group. It would be different too if I believed there was no chance to play. You can’t shut it off and flip a switch.”
The first two weeks of recovery have allowed for improved range of motion, Lulay said. Next up is getting back to throwing, which could happen this week or next. However Lulay continued to insist that shoulder surgery is not in his immediate future and feels he can still make an impact on the three-team race for the West Division regular season title.
Two days after Mike Reilly endured the first concussion of his CFL career, the Edmonton Eskimos were on the defensive.
General manager Ed Hervey, head coach Kavis Reed and Reilly, the team’s star quarterback, met with reporters Monday afternoon to address Reilly’s concussion. The point that the club wanted to hammer home was that Reilly told the team’s trainers that he was OK to stay in the game after he’d taken a hard helmet-to-helmet hit to the back of the head from Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Cleyon Laing on Saturday night.
Hervey opened the conference by reading a statement to that effect.
“After the play in question, Eskimos training staff took to the field. They assessed Mike Reilly. They assessed him for pain in his head or neck for headache. Reilly said he did not have any such pain,” Hervey said.
“Based on observation of Reilly ... and the player’s responses, there was no suspicion of concussion. After the subsequent play (Reilly threw a touchdown to Shamawd Chambers) Reilly raised concern over some concussion-like symptoms for the first time. The medical staff immediately removed him from the game.”
The team issued a similarly themed statement Sunday when it announced that Reilly was concussed. He’ll have to successfully go through a recovery protocol before he can be cleared to return to action.
On the play where he took the head shot, Reilly was in the process of being sacked by a pair of Toronto defenders. Laing ran in from behind Reilly and made contact with the back of his helmet as he was seated.
The 28-year-old crumpled on the turf and was laid out for about nine seconds before he got up.
When he got to his feet, Reilly had a vacant look on his face and stumbled backward before telling trainers he was in good enough health to stay in the game.
“I felt fine,” Reilly said. “I was more concerned about the rest of my body than my head.
“I didn’t feel like there were any head issues. I felt very clear, I was able to talk to the medical staff about anything that was going on, I had no headaches, no dizziness, no confusion. When I was on the field I felt 100-per-cent mentally like I was able to play.”
Reilly dropped the ensuing snap, picked it up under his knees and managed to throw the pass to Chambers. When he came off, he said, the concussion symptoms kicked in.
“I felt like I was all there,” Reilly said. “There was no different feeling for me being out there on the field than for any other play.
“I felt great about my ability to assess the play and execute it,” Reilly said.
The Eskimos were criticized on social media and even from the TSN halftime panel about allowing Reilly to stay in the game.
Asked if he had any concern of second-impact syndrome — Reilly took a slight hit on the touchdown pass — Hervey responded: “You’d have to talk to the doctors about that.
“Our training staff has followed every protocol in regards to this matter and we stand by their protocol. Again, the player showed no signs (of a concussion) at that time and we stand by that.
“In Edmonton, we take every player’s health concern with the highest regard. We would never put a player in jeopardy here.”
Between Reilly continually saying that he feels great and Hervey and Reed taking turns standing by the protocol that the trainers used on Saturday night, the pertinent topics for the coming week almost fell by the wayside.
Reilly will go through the post-concussion protocol this week. His status was not clearly determined for Saturday’s game against the Montreal Alouettes, though one would assume that if it takes a week to clear that protocol, he would be unable to play.