No Lulay, no problem for Leos 0
Quarterback Travis Lulay (front) will be without veteran Geroy Simon (81) this season, which means there is an opportunity on offence for a younger receiver to step up and fill the void. (REUTERS)
Travis Lulay is taking it two games at a time.
After sitting out the previous two weeks with a shoulder injury, the B.C. Lions quarterback will be out for another pair of games — after which he'll be re-evaluated.
Is Lulay disappointed? Yes. But with the way the 9-4 Lions have played in his absence — winning both games and clinching a playoff spot — there's less pressure for him to return and potentially make his injury worse.
"As a competitor, you want to be out there with your guys so that part of it is disappointing," the pivot said Monday. "We're optimistic with where (the injury) is now.
"You work so hard and this is what you play for, but that being said you have other quarterbacks on the roster for a reason. This is bigger than one man, but seeing the guys go out there and get wins it feels good."
On Sept. 15, Lulay partially dislocated his right shoulder against the Montreal Alouettes on a scoring play that saw him dive head first into the end zone before crashing into defensive back Geoff Tisdale. Unable to finish the game, backup Thomas DeMarco has carried the offensive load ever since.
The inflammation and swelling in the 30-year-old’s shoulder has nearly gone, which means he can get his range of motion back and start throwing again — possibly by the end of the week. Regaining strength is another step.
Lulay will remain inactive for this Friday's home showdown against the Saskatchewan Roughriders and next week's road tilt against the Calgary Stampeders.
"Like we said initially, after two weeks we would re-evaluate," he said. "Best-case scenario would probably be being able to potentially play three weeks from now. Obviously, worst-case scenario is it doesn't come back by the end of the season, but I don't think we're there yet. I feel optimistic."
This season, Lulay has thrown for 2,787 yards and 19 touchdowns while also running in a pair of majors on his own.
DeMarco has picked up the slack with the former CFL Most Outstanding Player on the sidelines, most recently completing 15 of 21 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown in the team's 53-17 shellacking of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last Friday.
Veteran Buck Pierce, too, provides insurance for the Lions in case the youngster falters. Overall, that makes it easier for the team to continue to let Lulay heal.
"He's getting better, that's the positive part," said head coach Mike Benevides, who adds surgery isn’t necessary.
"When you're talking about one of the premier quarterbacks in this league and our leader, you want to get him back on the field as soon as possible.
"Once he feels good about it, and once the medical people feel good about it, … as soon as they give me the green light, I'm doing it because the sooner you can get him in, the better.”