All hands on deck

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Needing all of their valuable hands on deck for tomorrow afternoon, the Edmonton Eskimos might have Mike Bradley back on the roster.

The special teams demon is hoping to be cleared to play after showing rapid improvement from a neck injury.

"I was cleared to run (at yesterday's practice)," said Bradley, who was forced to sit out on Thanksgiving Day.

"But I have to see the doctor (this morning) to see how things are going."

If he's cleared to take hits at full speed, he'll be on the Commonwealth Stadium grass tomorrow to battle the Toronto Argos in what could be the final meaningful game of the year.

If the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Montreal Alouettes tonight in Regina, the Esks will have to beat Toronto to keep their slim playoff chance alive.

But getting Bradley back is no sure thing.

The neck injury initially left him with weakness in his right arm.

"I got the strength back and that is the important part," he explained.

"But there is still a little tingling (in my left arm), so we have to wait and see what is going on."

TRACKING RUNNERS

Ricky Williams and John Avery have combined to put the spotlight on Eskimo linebacker Marcus Winn.

With the Toronto Argos arriving this weekend, Winn will continue to be front and centre in the Eskimo defensive package, taking Gerald Dixon's outside linebacker spot when Toronto puts both running backs on the field.

"I thought he did well (on Monday)," said head coach Danny Maciocia, who debuted the defensive wrinkle on Thanksgiving Day.

"Everything we asked him to do he did in that game, especially in the second half."

For most of the season Winn has been a second-down player on the other side of the linebacking core, replacing Singor Mobley.

But now his main job is to shut down Avery.

"I feel more comfortable at this," Winn admitted, as he backed up Steven Marsh last year.

And he's getting helpful pointers from Dixon, who has played the position all year in Marsh's absence.

"If it is a cost for winning, I don't really care, said Dixon, rejecting the notion he might be frustrated by sitting down for most plays. "I just want to win."

ROSTER JUGGLING

Steve Charbonneau continues to miss practices this week as he nurses a nagging back problem, but the starting defensive tackle is still very much a possibility for tomorrow's game.

"We will take (that roster decision) all the way down to an hour before the game," said Maciocia.

"And we will take half a game (of his services)."

In other words, Maciocia desperately wants to get something out of Charbonneau in such a crucial game.

If he can't even play half a game, defensive end Charles Alston could move inside on the line, joining starter Robert Brown and non-import back up Randy Spencer.

FINISH LINES: For the first time in nearly a month, special teams starter Will Loftus will likely return to action after recovering from a nagging hamstring injury ... If Loftus and Bradley are both officially added to the 42-man roster, two Canadians will have to come off.


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