Stamps feel injury pinch

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

As Jeremaine Copeland gingerly walked off the McMahon Stadium turf, it appeared this isn't the Calgary Stampeders' week.

After practice ended, the Stamps' No. 1 receiver was downplaying the pinched nerve in his back that kept him out yesterday.

But during a week when the CFL club is preparing to play the league's best team, the B.C. Lions, without No. 1 quarterback Henry Burris, one wonders just how much could go wrong with this team.

What hurt Copeland more was not being able to continue building chemistry with this week's starting pivot, Akili Smith.

"I don't think this will get worse," Copeland said of his back, which was hurt when he turned to make a catch. "It just got out of alignment real quick. It was just a bad turn. It can happen on anything. (Trainer) Pat Clayton didn't want me to go.

"The only reason I really wanted to get back out there today was to build some timing with Akili. The coaches were happy with the practice yesterday. We haven't looked like we've lost a step. I'm not really worried about it right now."

With Copeland out, practice-roster receiver J.R. Tolver stepped into his slot position in some offensive sets.

Head coach Tom Higgins isn't overly concerned Copeland missed yesterday, but will be worried if the receiver isn't fully participating today.

"We would like as many reps with the people who will be in there," Higgins said. "The people jumping in did a nice job. Obviously, it was still quality but you would rather it was No. 80 on the field than anyone else."

Copeland certainly doesn't want to let his teammates face the first-place Lions without him. Plus, he wants to keep the offence rolling to prove they can win without Burris, who is sidelined with a dislocated shoulder.

"Our execution will have to be at another level," Copeland said. "We have to execute every play. The potential needs to step up.

"This is the type of game that will show what type of team we really are."

DEVINE INTERVENTION

The Stampeders are hoping for some Devine intervention concerning their quarterback of the future.

Former Seattle Seahawks QB Derek Devine joined the expanded Stampeders practice roster yesterday and will work out for a couple of weeks before a decision is made on him.

Most likely, the Portland, Ore., native will be released by Oct. 10 when the practice roster gets reduced, and he will be given a 2008 training-camp invitation.

"Everybody has their own path," said Devine. "You can see so much how it's the right place at the right time, or wrong place at wrong time."

EXTRA POINTS

Newly signed receiver Ak-Zahir Hakim was expected to arrive last night and should be on the practice field today. Stamps head coach Tom Higgins expects the NFL veteran to contribute to the return game while adding depth at receiver ... Hamilton DL Charlton Keith is defensive player of the week for his two-sack game against the Stamps. Lions SB Geroy Simon won offensive player of the week, Argos KR Dominique Dorsey took special-teams honours, while Roughriders WR Andy Fantuz is top Canadian.


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