Stamps' Lewis masters levity

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

CALGARY -- John Hufnagel is used to facing the media on a daily basis.

On Thursday afternoon, the Calgary Stampeders head coach decided to join them -- if only for one question.

Hufnagel, who stood by patiently as receiver Nik Lewis answered questions about his injured thumb, finally fired a query of his own.

"Nik, where did you get that ridiculous hat?" Hufnagel said of Lewis' hunter's-style toque, complete with ear-flaps.

"At the Stamps store," Lewis replied without missing a beat.

"I support the Stampeders."

More importantly, the Stamps' top pass-catcher said he expects to be ready to support his teammates on the field in Regina Sunday afternoon.

"It's a slow process," Lewis said after dressing -- but not participating in -- Thursday's workout.

"I'm just trying to get as healthy as possible for this game. Mentally, I'm in tune. I know what I have to do ... I'm just trying to help out Jabari (Arthur) and the rest of the offence."

While Hufnagel expects Lewis to take part in Friday's practice, he wasn't as optimistic when discussing middle linebacker Juwan Simpson.

"Juwan had a tough day today," Hufnagel said of the club's leading tackler, who walked off the field halfway through Thursday's session at McMahon Stadium with a sore knee.

"He tried, but we'll see what Mother Nature does to it overnight.

"We'll find out tomorrow when we give him another shot. But it's not what I had hoped (for)."

If Simpson can't go in Sunday's first-place showdown, rookie Karl McCartney could be in line to get his first start.

The 22-year-old said he won't be rattled by being inserted into the most important game of the season.

"I'm getting to take the first-string reps, so that's always a good feeling," the Saint Mary's product said.

"You can call it (the biggest game of the year) if you want, but a game is a game.

"You go into every game with the same attitude, so I'm not putting more pressure on my shoulders."

Hufnagel wasn't able to shed any light on the status of defensive lineman Mike Labinjo (elbow).

"He's going to get an MRI in the near future, and then we'll find out what the status of his injury is."


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