Gass pains hurt

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:53 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Like having salt rubbed in a nasty wound, the Edmonton Eskimos not only have to deal with an ugly loss, but they also have to hope three key starters are healthy enough to play Friday night.

In his first game of the season, A.J. Gass suffered a strained right hamstring in the first half last night and didn't return for the second half.

Mookie Mitchell was on pace for a ridiculous 300-yard receiving game yesterday at Canad Inns Stadium before being sidelined with the exact same injury.

And defensive end Andre Sommersell injured his right hand.

SHARP, SHOOTING PAIN

"I was covering a punt and I overstrided a little bit and it felt like a couple cuts with a knife," said Gass in an eerily quiet dressing room after a 46-10 shellacking by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

While he doesn't know if he'll be healthy enough for Friday's key game against the B.C. Lions at Commonwealth Stadium, Gass does know this hamstring problem is nothing new.

"I usually get one a year - usually happens in camp," he explained.

And that might be an underlying story.

Gass missed every practice in training camp due to the death of his mother.

Missing that conditioning might have played a key part in why the right hamstring has become a problem now.

"I think I might of overestimated where I am physically," said Gass.

On the positive side, Mitchell believes he'll be able to play Friday. But the training staff will get the final say.

"It tightened up real bad and I couldn't get a full extension," said Mitchell, after he hurt the hamstring late in the second quarter on a sideline route and was pulled out of the contest.

"I'll be fine. I didn't pull it, the hamstring is just tight."

Mitchell left the game with a stunning six catches for 161 yards.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia has finally broken his goose-egg with instant replay.

For the first time this year, Maciocia won a replay challenge, as referee Andre Proulx reversed the on-field ruling that Ed Hervey was out of bounds on a reception in Winnipeg territory.

Unfortunately for Maciocia, the Blue Bombers gained critical momentum on the next play, stuffing Edmonton on a third-and-one gamble.

The stuff led to Winnipeg's first touchdown and a 12-7 lead.

STONE COLD: Edmonton slotback Pat Woodcock denied earlier this week he was worried about trying to make his first catch of the year. But in his first game of the season last night - after recovering from a stubborn hamstring injury from training camp - he dropped a perfectly throw ball that hit him right in the hands.

COSTLY MISTAKE

It was a costly mistake because if he had squeezed the ball, it would have put Edmonton in scoring position deep in Winnipeg territory late in the first half.

With the Esks reeling from an onslaught of the Bombers' attack, any measure of scoring success before the end of the second quarter would have given the visitors something to build on.

Instead, the Green and Gold entered the locker-room facing a 19-point deficit.


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