Blue Bombers’ Chris Matthews ready to make impact after being slowed by injuries
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers held a closed practice on Wednesday, but it seems receiver Chris Matthews is on track to return to the lineup on Friday when they host the Ottawa Redblacks at IG Field.
After appearing in their previous two games, a hand injury kept Matthews out of last week’s contest against the Toronto Argonauts.
“I’m healthy now,” Matthews said. “It’s all about going out there and just making it happen.
“Things happen — it’s a rough start for me. But hopefully that this is the final one that made me sit down. And now I can go out there and actually contribute the way I want to contribute.”
The Bombers have won four straight games to start the season, but Matthews has only appeared in half of them. The 29-year-old also sat out their season opener with a lower-body injury.
Matthews didn’t exactly set the league on fire in his first two games of the season, either. He made only three catches for 26 yards and had only had six passes thrown in his direction. Both the Bombers and Matthews himself had high expectations for this season, so for Matthews, there’s already a level of frustration after not being able to contribute to their early success.
“It’s low-key intimidating that we’re doing so good and everybody is hitting on all cylinders, and me coming in with all these expectations,” he said.
“And not being able to do it because I’ve been hurt. It’s a little bit frustrating, but you got to be a professional, and come out and figure out a way to get it done.”
“I think any pro is frustrated when they get injured and they can’t be out there doing what they love to do,” head coach Mike O’Shea said. “I’m sure Chris had a mindset coming in of what he wanted to accomplish, and how he wanted to help the team. And it has been tough.”
Matthews might be ready to come back, but the status of another one of their weapons on offence is still up in the air as returner Charles Nelson is still a question mark to play on Friday.
Safety Jeff Hecht shouldn’t miss any time, though, after going down in their last game. He left Friday’s win in the first half with an injury, but listening to Hecht on Wednesday, it was a precautionary move as much as anything else.
“Far as I’m concerned, I’m good to go, right,” Hecht said. “As far as I know, I’m getting the green light. I felt like I could have came back in that game after halftime. But the guys in the training room get paid to do their job, and they decided we were better off taking the rest of that one off.
“I’m feeling good.”
The Bombers will look for a fifth straight victory on Friday when they take on the Redblacks at IG Field with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 pm.
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