'Back feels Lions QB's pain

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

If Buck Pierce goes under centre rather gingerly tomorrow night, Calvin Bannister will know exactly what the B.C. Lions quarterback is feeling.

Pierce will be fighting through some badly bruised ribs he suffered last week against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Bannister is getting back in the Calgary Stampeders lineup this week at halfback, having recovered enough from the bruised ribs he suffered in Toronto that caused him to miss last week's game.

Although Bannister has no sympathy for Pierce, he knows what the pivot may go through tomorrow at McMahon Stadium: Shortness of breath and lack of motion because of a tender rib cage.

"If he's running a lot and starts hyper-ventilating, he could get pretty scared in that pocket," said Bannister.

"It could stiff up and take over by the end of the game. It's a tough injury.

"If his injury is real bad -- as bad as mine was -- I don't see someone staying through the whole game. You will take deep breaths if you're running hard. Most of it can be controlled if you breathe right."

Pierce, who played through the injury last week, was also hampered by a hand injury he suffered a week earlier against Saskatchewan.

Bannister did the exactly same thing. He took a helmet to the ribs returning the opening kickoff in the blowout loss to the Argonauts.

The 5-ft.-8 defensive back sucked it up and stayed in the game but was having trouble taking deep breaths throughout.

The training staff was getting concerned when Bannister started coughing up fluid near the end of the third quarter.

In that time, Bannister picked off a Michael Bishop pass in the endzone, returned it to midfield and was thrown out of bounds by the pivot.

A melee ensued but Bannister didn't have the energy to get involved.

But it was only when he couldn't control his coughing that he agreed to come off the field.

"This was the worst feeling I had because I could hardly run period," Bannister said.

"I'm all about speed and if you take away my speed, I'm just a finesse corner out there.

"You only pull yourself out because you don't want to hurt the team. You don't want to be selfish about staying in there for personal reasons.

"If you going in there when you're 50 percent and there's another man on the sidelines who's a 100 percent, that hurts the team.

"He's licking his chops on the sidelines waiting to get his chance."

When the Stamps returned home from that road trip, they cut Jermaine Chatman and Brandon Haw.

The team replaced Bannister and Chatman in the starting lineup with Brandon Stewart and Sadrick Williams and both did a good job last week in beating Toronto.

But Bannister goes back in at his halfback spot in place of Stewart and can't wait for the chance to face the unbeaten Lions. He would dearly love to be the first team to knock off to hand Buck Pierce and the Lions B.C. a loss.

"Who doesn't?" he said. "You want to beat the best and they are so called the best right now."


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