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Sports Small tear in Andrew Harris' pec leaves big hole as Argos hope future hall of fame RB returns this season

04:31  17 august  2022
04:31  17 august  2022 Source:   torontosun.com

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Running back Andrew Harris at Argonauts training camp in Guelph earlier this year. © Provided by Toronto Sun Running back Andrew Harris at Argonauts training camp in Guelph earlier this year.

The future of future hall of fame running back Andrew Harris is suddenly in doubt.

In his first season as an Argo, the three-time Grey Cup champion became the first Canadian in CFL history to reach 10,000 career rushing yards when he led Toronto to an win over the Riders in Regina last month.

Last week in Hamilton, Harris injured his pectoral muscle in his left arm. An MRI revealed a small tear.

“He feels good about his strength,” Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie said. “He’ll get a second opinion to see if he could play through it or if surgery is required.”

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If surgery is required, Harris won’t play again this season and perhaps never again.

Dinwiddie added how the Argos should know in the next few days what the future holds for Harris.

According to Dinwiddie, a doctor based in Winnipeg — Harris’ hometown — has performed procedures in the past on Harris.

“He’s (Harris) comfortable with him (doctor). We’re sending the imaging to him to get a second opinion.”

Harris has appeared in every game this season for the 4-4 Argos. He posted a 100-yard rushing game and hauled in a two-point convert, but no rushing or receiving TDs have yet to be produced.

During camp, he hurt his hamstring and did not play in either of Toronto’s two pre-season games.

During a home win two weeks ago against Hamilton, he banged his wrist. It was during last Friday night’s visit to the Hammer when Harris hurt his pec near midfield.

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A.J. Ouellette, who joined the Argos in 2019, moves into the role as the featured back. Ouellette is an American who played at Ohio University with Canadian QB Nathan Rourke.

Ouellette started the Argos’ final two games in 2019. He can run out of the backfield, be used in the passing game and pick up blitzes, but he’s an undersized running back whose durability will be an issue.

Ouellette was banged up in Hamilton, but he was at practice Tuesday and showed no ill effects as the Argos put on pads for one of the few times this season because padded practices are limited in the CFL.

The Argos will allow Harris and his medical team to decide what path is best. If Andrew feels he can fight through the discomfort, the Argos expect him to be back near the end of the year. If surgery is on table, then he’s gone for the year.

Even if Harris decides to play, there’s no telling what the Argos record will look like in the event he lines up in the backfield.

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This Argos team is dealing with a lot of issues. Team chemistry and leadership stick out, besides the obvious personnel and coaching questions that have surfaced.

The Argos need to get on some kind of a winning run, if that’s even possible, or this team can easily come apart at the seams.

Harris came to the Argos from Winnipeg, his hometown, following back-to-back Grey Cup seasons for the Blue Bombers spread over three years because COVID-19 forced the CFL to cancel its season in 2020. In the 2019 Grey Cup, Harris was named MVP.

A culture of mental and physical toughness was created in Winnipeg, something the Argos have been trying to establish for a few years.

There’s no guarantee he will be back in Double Blue.

More will be known in the days to follow, but for the time being it’s expected Harris will miss anywhere from four to six weeks if no surgery is planned.

“I’m hoping for the best, but we won’t know for a few days,’’ Dinwiddie said.

Canadian rookie Ben Adeboboye and first-year American Javon Leake, assuming he’s up this week, will be used in a rotation in the backfield.

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Leake began the year as the team’s primary returner, but he hurt his hamstring in practice and was placed on the six-game injured list.

He’s eligible to play this week if the Argos feel Leake is ready. He resumed practising last week.

There hasn’t been much of a ground game this season, in part because the team’s offensive line has been dealing with injuries. The unit did not have a good game in Hamilton.

Harris, 35, was averaging a career-low 4.3 yards as an Argo. His most productive games were produced in a one-point loss to Winnipeg at BMO Field, when he rushed 22 times for 111 yards, followed by his breakout performance at Mosaic when he rushed 26 times for 143 yards.

Ouellette is no slouch, a combination of elusiveness and power. The Argos will need more than just him lining up in the backfield.

“Every time we’ve given him reps, he’s done well,’’ Dinwiddie added of Ouellette.

The Argos were managing Harris’ workload and even allowed Harris to take days off during the week of practice as maintenance days. Ouellette will now get all the first-team reps.

“Obviously we’re going to miss Andrew because he’s such a good player, such a great teammate, but we’re excited for A.J.,’’ Dinwiddie said.

Harris, according to Dinwiddie, was injured near midfield at Tim Hortons Field and not near the goalline when the Argos ran their short yardage offence, which is coming up short far too often.

“He came off and I could tell it wasn’t good,’’ Dinwiddie said of Harris. “It’s just an unfortunate injury.”

Harris was not made available Tuesday.

“He’s disappointed,’’ Dinwiddie added. “If he has to miss a significant amount of time he wants to help out. He wants to be involved. And we want to keep him involved.”

HURTS SO MUCH

Cam Phillips (groin) will likely be unavailable for a few weeks, according to Dinwiddie.

Phillips hurt his groin during the pre-game warmups in Hamilton at a time when he was playing his best football and was arguably the team’s top receiver.

It got so bad in Hamilton that safety Royce Metchie had to line up at boundary halfback.

“We were beat up, but there’s no excuse. We should have found ways to win that game,’’ said Dinwiddie, whose team lost 34-27.

Tommy Nield, who filled in for Phillips, hurt his ankle and, according to Dinwiddie, will be out two to three weeks.

The McMaster grad injured himself after a reception when he rolled his ankle in a small area that separates the sideline advertisements from the actual playing surface.

Injury bug takes another bite of Toronto Argonauts with elite DE Ja'Gared Davis out minimum six weeks with knee setback .
The news keeps getting worse for an Argos team desperate for some kind of positive development. A knee setback to Ja’Gared Davis is positively bad, the second big-time free agent acquired by the club this past off-season who will be sidelined. Davis is expected to return at some point when the CFL begins its stretch run. Andrew Harris will undergo a season-ending surgery to repair a torn pec he suffered in Hamilton. A week later, the Argos lost A knee setback to Ja’Gared Davis is positively bad, the second big-time free agent acquired by the club this past off-season who will be sidelined. Davis is expected to return at some point when the CFL begins its stretch run.

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