Hammy whammy

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

T.D. Forss can't figure it out.

The bright and articulate Edmonton Eskimos head athletic therapist can't pinpoint why the Green and Gold is being hammered with an unusual deluge of hamstring injuries this season.

Through training camp and the opening eight weeks of the 2006 campaign, the Esks have lost five veteran starters to hamstring problems.

TRYING TO FIND REASONS FOR THE INJURIES

"We have looked at it to see if there is anything we can pinpoint (for) why it is happening - everything from what the warm-ups are to what we are doing during the day for rehab," said Forss. "And we have looked at things as simple as the turf because it is a new (artificial) turf (at Clarke Stadium we practise on).

"But we have never been able to pinpoint (anything). Some of (the injuries) have been on turf and some have been on grass."

Receiver Pat Woodcock suffered a hamstring injury on the Clarke Stadium field turf during training camp, which cost him several weeks.

Mookie Mitchell and A.J. Gass both strained a hamstring on the artificial turf in Winnipeg on Canada Day.

Gass then strained that same hamstring on the grass practice field next to Commonwealth Stadium two weeks ago.

And safeties Will Loftus and Kelly Wiltshire suffered their hamstring problems on the artificial surface at B.C. Place last Friday. Both were hurt on punt coverage plays on special teams.

Loftus is at a loss to explain why his hamstring gave way.

"I honestly can't explain it," said Loftus, who is extremely frustrated.

Wiltshire - the more comical of the secondary pair - has attempted to put the frustration in clear perspective for single guys.

"It is like going on a date and not being able to kiss the girl after the date," said Wiltshire, trying to compare how a pulled hamstring can severely hamper nearly every task on the football field.

TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS

The biggest key to returning to the roster - according to Forss - is giving the injury the proper time.

"You can't work your way through it," he explained. "If you push too hard you can actually prolong it."

And while on the sidelines, Forss is using a variety of remedies to help the healing - everything from ice to stretches to massages to electrical stimulation to acupuncture.

But the biggest frustration this year - like with every sports team stuck in this trend - is trying to guess when the hamstring will be 100% healthy.

"When you hurt your MCL and it's first degree, we can say (the player will) be ready next week," said Forss. "But with a first-degree hamstring (injury), it is usually two weeks but it can be four."

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Along with time, there are a few other remedies to help a hamstring return to 100% health.

Immediately after a pull or strained hamstring: Ice, compression and elevation

For more serious pulls: "If it is significant enough and the doctor thinks it's necessary, they go on anti-inflammatories for anywhere from five to 10 days," said Eskimo trainer T.D. Forss.

For swelling and pain: Electrical stimulation

For prolonged tightness after several days: Stretching, massage and acupuncture

- Forss will also examine a player's back or pelvis, as the problem and remedy might be in that area. Specifically with the pelvis...

"You have to look to make sure their pelvis is on, because if their pelvis is off (alignment) part of their body is getting more tension than other parts.

"If you put it (straight), sometimes that pressure will go away (helping solve the hamstring issue)."


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