Knee injuries sideline key pair

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:05 AM ET

Two important pieces of the Calgary Stampeders have been taken out at the knees.

And now the defending Grey Cup champions have some adversity to deal with by losing a defensive starter and a Canadian.

Both sophomore defensive back Brandon Smith and running back Jon Cornish will get their knees scoped once the swelling goes down after leaving Wednesday's 37-30 pre-season win over the B.C. Lions.

"It's disappointing but you have to move on and wish them a speedy recovery," said Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel.

"This is a chance for some young guys to show what they can do."

Smith had worked his way into a starting job at a difficult halfback spot, and he was emerging as a solid performer in returning for his second season.

The Stamps have some options in replacing him, and Hufnagel singled out a couple of players as potential starters.

"Keon Raymond was here last year and showed some versatility," Hufnagel said about the safety turned linebacker. "He competed very well last night. When it looked like Brandon Browner couldn't play in last year's Grey Cup, we had him at cornerback."

Another option is newcomer Davanzo Tate, who played a great deal during the win over the Lions.

"We've had a lot of guys who came to camp and worked hard," Hufnagel said. "Here's an opportunity. There's a job open right now."

Hufnagel declared quarterback Barrick Nealy to be day-to-day with a groin injury, while defensive end E.J. Kuale and receiver Jackie Chambers are wearing boots and nursing ankle injuries.

There is good news in that defensive back J.R. Ruffin took a hard hit but declared himself fit to practice today.

Ruffin, who missed more than a year with a knee injury earlier in his career, feels bad for Smith.

"He's walking and that's always a good thing," Ruffin said. "Of course, it's sad to see. I went through a knee injury and you never want to see anyone else get a knee injury.

"It could be as bad as mine. I don't wish that on my worst enemy. I hope his isn't as bad as mine. I hope he gets back real soon ... He has veteran savvy now. He looks totally different than last year. He said it's easier to play when you know what you are doing. He looks good.


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