Sports

Bombers quarterback Nichols returns to practice after injury scare

WINNIPEG — Matt Nichols didn't appear to be bothered by an injured throwing hand during the Blue Bombers' practice on Tuesday.

Wearing a modified glove on his right hand, the quarterback was tossing long and accurate passes, one about 40 yards into the hands of wide receiver Darvin Adams.

"He looks fine to me," Adams said. "He was out practising well to me, throwing the ball well.

"It didn't look like he was too much worried about it. It was a normal day. Matt just being Matt, slinging the ball around like he always does."

Nichols' throwing hand was injured in the first half of Winnipeg's 30-13 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Friday. He was replaced for the second half by Dominique Davis with the Bombers down 16-10.

Nichols took some crushing hits, with one looking like his hand may have hit a defender's helmet when he was stripped of the ball. While he was on the sidelines getting assessed, a TSN camera zoomed in on his ring finger, which was bloody around the cuticle.

The glove Nichols wore at practice covered his ring and pinkie fingers, with the thumb, index and middle fingers exposed through holes.

Winnipeg's quarterbacks weren't available to the media after practice, but head coach Mike O'Shea sounded optimistic Nichols would be ready for Saturday's home game against the B.C. Lions (6-8).

"I didn't notice anything real negative at all," O'Shea said. "But as usual with anybody that's nicked up a little bit, we'll talk to them tomorrow morning and see how they feel."

He said he didn't think the nail on Nichols' ring finger was torn off and wasn't specific about the nature of the injury.

"It's a fingernail or on or off, I don't think it really matters," O'Shea said. "It looked like he was throwing the ball really well today."

Nichols had completed 14 of 18 pass attempts for 158 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Davis was 9-of-14 for 84 yards in relief.

Running back Andrew Harris expected Nichols to be behind centre against the Lions.

"No doubt at all," Harris said. "Matt's a competitor, he's a tough guy. He's been through a lot worse as far as adversity and injuries throughout his career. He's overcome those things.

"It's an important part of the season for us and I expect him to be in full go for us."

The loss ended Winnipeg's five-game home win streak, but the 10-4 team remains in second place in the CFL West Division. It needs one win to secure a playoff spot and hasn't lost back-to-back games this season.

Bombers quarterbacks coach Buck Pierce also said Nichols looked fine to him.

"It's really about being mentally tough and going out there and just playing," said Pierce, who played nine CFL seasons at quarterback.

"Matt's good. He's as mentally tough as anybody I've been around."

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