Receiving corps ready to rally around Smith

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

In the eyes of the Calgary Stampeders playmakers, the shoulder injury that has sidelined Henry Burris likely cost him some hardware.

"I had him as the MVP," said receiver Jeremaine Copeland of Burris, who could miss the rest of the year with a dislocated left shoulder. But Hank is man enough to fight through this."

Burris continued his hot streak Friday until getting hurt in the last minute of a 24-20 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

He went 23-of-34 passing for 304 yards and two touchdowns, and had the team in position for the winning score.

Before getting hurt, he was on pace for career highs in yardage and touchdowns. His 26 TDs already this season is just off his career high of 30 set with Saskatchewan in 2000.

"He can't get that MVP award now," Copeland said. "It's pretty bad, but we're keeping him in our prayers.

"It's sad because Hank was on his way to the best year of his career. I really think he was going to set some great career bests in a lot of ways."

Worst of all, Burris likely will miss enough time that he can't prove he is a playoff performer because even if he does come back, he won't be at 100%.

The Stampeders pivot joins a long list of injured QBs.

Dave Dickenson, Damon Allen, Anthony Calvillo, Michael Bishop and Buck Pierce have all been hurt.

So the Stamps are going to do what other clubs have done: Rally around No. 2.

Akili Smith will start at least the next few games.

"Everybody is playing and winning with their backup quarterbacks, so why can't we?" said receiver Nik Lewis.

"We're up there at the top of the league as far as receiving corps go. We can win with Akili -- he's not a bad quarterback, he's a good quarterback.


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