O-lineman battles to return from injury for Riders tilt

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:26 AM ET

If you need an example of how big Monday's game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders has become, just watch No. 64 in practice.

Right tackle Jeff Pilon may be battling a shoulder injury and was labelled doubtful by his head coach early this week, but there he was in team drills yesterday manning his spot.

The veteran is still iffy to suit up on Thanksgiving against the Riders in what is a first-place showdown, but Pilon is going to try regardless of the pain.

Pilon has sat out three of the past four outings and doesn't want to return until he can contribute for 60 minutes, but the past month on the sideline has been hard to swallow for him.

"It sucks. There is no other way to put it," Pilon said. "You don't want to be out, especially with the way this team is rolling.

"Not being able to compete really sucks. I like to play and that's why I signed up here. You always want to play in big games, and the next four are really big for us.

"When I come back, I don't want to hurt the team. I don't want a situation where I come back, and they have to make personnel changes.

"When the time is right and the team needs me, I will be ready to go."

Yesterday was only the first of four sessions the Stamps have to prepare for the Riders, but it was a good sign Pilon participated.

It may become even more important after guard Derek Armstrong left with an injury to his abdomen.

The Stamps also welcomed back safety Milton Collins, who was cleared to resume activity after missing three games with a concussion.

Collins may be needed as safety Wes Lysack isn't ready to come back from his ankle sprain, and Collins did the entire workout with no ill effects.

"I feel much better now," Collins said. "I had never experienced one before, so I couldn't really tell how long it would be. I didn't want to rush it because it could be a serious injury."

Defensive end Mike Labinjo also skipped yesterday's session and won't be ready to return Monday, either.

The Stamps were also without linebacker Shannon James and punter Burke Dales because both are battling the flu, which isn't considered serious.

The Stamps have added defensive back Lenny Walls to the active roster while putting returner J.R. Ruffin on the injured list from the practice roster. Walls could take over for Calvin Bannister at the halfback position.


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