Labinjo struggling with lingering effects of fractured leg

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

Mike Labinjo expected to experience problems coming back a few weeks early from a fractured leg.

He knew there would be aches and pains.

But the Canadian defensive end can't find the explosiveness he needs to be productive for the Stamps, so he may find himself out of the lineup tomorrow against the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders (1:30 p.m., TSN).

"It's still a little sore," said Labinjo, who has played two games since returning after a six-game absence.

"I have to try and get it stronger. I have to find that explosiveness somehow."

Labinjo didn't take part in defensive team drills yesterday in the final full practice before meeting the Riders.

Instead, he spent the majority of the time working as a defensive end on scout team.

"That was the best spot trying to get my agility and explosiveness back," Labinjo said. "When I'm inside (at tackle), I'm not really doing anything (in practice)."

If Labinjo doesn't play tomorrow, the replacement would be Miguel Robede, who has been a healthy scratch since Labinjo came off the injured list.

Other players taking the day off were linebacker Shannon James and receiver Nik Lewis, but both are expected to play against Saskatchewan.

Left guard Jesse Newman, who missed three games with a shoulder injury, will dress as a backup to Tim O'Neill.

Stamps feel no sympathy

There is not much sympathy for the Riders losing their top receiver last week against the Toronto Argonauts.

The Stamps are playing without two of their best pass-catchers, so they know exactly what the Riders are facing without Weston Dressler possibly for the rest of 2009.

"That's a good receiving corps and he's one of the best in the league, not only on that team," said Stamps coach John Hufnagel. "We functioned without two of our top-notch receivers in Ryan (Thelwell) and (Ken-Yon) Rambo.

"I'm sure their frame of mind is to rise up as a football team and a group of receivers. Any slack, they have to make up collectively. It's another opportunity for a player to step up and get more chances to play."

Dressler suffered a broken leg and severely sprained ankle Saturday but may return late in the playoffs.

Fantuz inks extension

The Riders have locked up Canadian slotback Andy Fantuz to a contract extension that will still allow him to explore NFL options after this season.


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