Phillips latest Canuck trenchman hurt

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Justin Phillips' timing is Classically awful.

Just three days before what some consider the regular-season Grey Cup, the Calgary Stampeders defensive end steps awkwardly on his left ankle, rolling it over for a sprain.

Now he's questionable (a game-time decision) for tomorrow's Labour Day Classic against the Edmonton Eskimos.

There is no good time to get hurt, but now?

"It's a bigger game, and the stakes are a raised," said Phillips, a third-year Canadian.

"To get hurt in practice is hugely disappointing. I'm still optimistic for the game and there is a chance I will play."

The injury bug is starting to build with the defending Grey Cup champion.

They found out last week they will be without cornerback Brandon Browner for a month due to a knee sprain.

In that win over the Toronto Argonauts, the Stamps also lost Canadian linebacker Tristan Black to an ankle injury.

The defensive line is already without Mike Labinjo, last year's playoff hero, who has missed two games with a leg fracture and expects to miss the next two as well.

With Alain Kashama also on the mend due an ankle sprain re-injured Aug. 13 in Edmonton, the possibility of having another Canadian lineman hobbled isn't good news to a team trying to get over the .500 mark for the first time this season.

"We're short with Canadians right now and they need me pretty bad," said Phillips, who is wearing a boot after staying extra long for treatment following yesterday's practice.

"I will do everything possible in order to play. Once the adrenaline starts going, it can help you play through the pain."

The Stamps are having their depth tested right now.

Only third-year tackle Miguel Robede and rookie defensive end Fernand Kashama remain as healthy Canadian linemen right now, and the Stamps need to have at least one non-import on the field for ratio purposes.

That could force safety Wes Lysack into action a bit more.

Labinjo sitting out trips to Edmonton and Toronto, which is his hometown, and now a back-to-back with the Eskimos burns a bit.

"It seems like I'm missing all the good games," he said. "Right now, all the implications of these ones are so important, and it really sucks sitting out."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA

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