Phillips's timing awful

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:18 PM ET

CALGARY -- Justin Phillips's 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 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.

"Obviously, it's disappointing to even be injured at this point."

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.

"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 adrenalin starts going, it can help you play through the pain.

"You play for the big games and injuries are never fun.

"But when it happens in practice, it makes it sting a bit more. I have to do what is right for the team," said Phillips.

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

"The one thing I've learned from being in this city is they are rooting for you to get back and healthy. I don't feel as bad as I did originally.

"When I first got hurt, I thought 'Damn, I hope it's not that long.' I don't want to let the team and the city down."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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