Linebacker Adam Bighill is back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill will be back in the lineup on Friday for the showdown of division leaders with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

He was held out of the lineup the past three games while being a game time decision, but he’s now healthy and raring to go.

“I just want to be out here for my teammates,” Bighill told reporters on Thursday.

“The past three weeks is about being smart. I felt like I obviously could have returned to play earlier, but it’s always good to have people on your team to help you realize it’s a long season.

“Being smart sometimes early in the season is the best thing to do, even if you feel like you could come back and play one week early.”

Kyrie Wilson has started in his place the last three games, and with Bighill’s return, Wilson will slide back over to his usual spot at the weak-side linebacker position.

Despite not having their leader on defence the past three games, the Bombers still have the top ranked defence in the league. They’ve allowed a league-best 66 points in the first five games, an average of just 13.2 points per game. But Bighill brings more than just his big play abilities to the club.

“It means a level of security,” head coach Mike O’Shea said. “Knowing that he’s going to get guys in the right spots, knowing that’s he’s gonna head off those mistakes before they happen. He’s gonna get on the sideline and make sure guys are dialed in.

“He’s gonna probably make a few really big plays, so it’s pretty good to have him back.”

For Bighill, it’s the first time he’s missed three straight games since his rookie season eight years ago. And expect Bighill to be his usual wrecking-ball self as the 30-year-old has no plans of easing his way back into action.

“At the end of the day, I play the game one way,” Bighill said, “and let the chips fall wherever that lands. So I don’t know how to play it any differently.”

The Bombers only made one change to their 46-man roster this week as receiver Chris Matthews was moved back onto the roster from the one-game injured list. But he still won’t play, with the head coach stating that Matthews didn’t make the trip to Hamilton with the rest of the team.

To make room for Matthews, linebacker Dale Warren was transferred back to the practice squad.

Kickoff on Friday is scheduled for 6:00 pm CT.

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