O-line breathing a whole lot easier

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

Tim Prinsen exited the Edmonton Eskimos locker room on crutches following Monday's matinee victory over the Montreal Alouettes with a look of relief on his face.

An infected knee landed the veteran Esks' centre on the shelf two weeks ago and forced the defending Grey Cup champions to shuffle things along their offensive line.

Kevin Lefsrud moved over from right guard to fill in for Prinsen, while Glen Carson took over for Lefsrud at guard.

The revamped front five struggled against Hamilton 12 days ago but looked like they'd been playing together all season as they provided quarterback Jason Maas with all the protection he needed in the 39-19 Thanksgiving Day win.

Prinsen is rebounding from his ordeal and looked to be breathing easier as he left the Esks bathhouse.

Lefsrud, who delivered one bad snap with Maas in shotgun formation compared with the four he unleashed in Hamilton, was also breathing easier.

BOWLING FOR DOLLARS

"(Montreal centre Bryan) Chiu went bowling for dollars and mine hit Maas right in the hand," smiled the Viking native and one-time Alouette.

"I think it's great. I love that Chiu let one go by him. It's nice to see somebody else screw up. Snapping that ball, everybody thinks it looks simple.

"But when you start moving, that ball can start spraying. It's very vital, if you don't get the ball in the quarterback's hands he can't do anything with it."

The fact Edmonton's O-line was able to withstand the pressure of Montreal's come one, come all defence is all the more amazing given veteran tackle Chris Morris was dogged by a tight back throughout the game.

"He could have very easily not played in the second half," marvelled head coach Tom Higgins.

"His back was seizing up and was very tight on him. It's efforts like that which give us reasons to be smiling after the game."

ABOUT THREE SECONDS

Maas got the roughly three seconds he needed to deliver the ball and was only sacked once.

He was, however, downed for a team loss of 13 yards after corralling Lefsrud's errant snap in the final quarter.

With Prinsen likely out for the remainder of the regular season, the re-tooled line could be dealt yet another blow if Morris is a scratch for Sunday's crucial road date with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

LATE HITS: The Esks have today off and begin to prepare for Sunday's showdown with Saskatchewan tomorrow afternoon ... DTs Randy Spencer, Clinton Wayne and Albert Reese all had to be helped off the field as did OT Joe McGrath, DBs Steven Marsh and Malcolm Frank. According to Higgins, none of the injured players is likely to miss this week's game.


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