Defence runs out of Gass

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

The injury bug keeps biting the Edmonton Eskimos.

With the regular season starting next week, the club lost starting middle linebacker A.J. Gass and projected starting running back Ron McClendon during practice yesterday.

Neither player was made available to the media to discuss the injuries, but Gass appeared to be in the worst shape.

After taking part in some of practice with a brace on his previously injured knee, the quarterback of the Edmonton defence was treated on the far side of the field for several minutes before being carted to the dressing room.

"I was sad to see A.J. go down again because he has worked really hard to come in to camp in the best shape of his life," said head coach Danny Maciocia.

"I know it's the same knee that acted up before.

"We did an MRI (earlier), and there is no structural damage to it.

"I'm hoping it is a bone bruise. But knowing A.J. as well as I do, I don't think that would have prevented him from finishing practice today."

For the first time this training camp, Maciocia publicly admitted there is a chance the Esks could enter the season with Antico Dalton in the middle of the linebacking core, surrounded by rookies Ray Perryman and Siddeeq Shabazz.

The last thing the Esks wanted was an injury to Gass this late in camp after having to start last year without the 10-year CFL vet.

As for McClendon, he walked to the dressing room with an ice pack taped to his right hamstring area.

"I think he may have tweaked his hamstring," continued Maciocia.

"I'm hoping it is nothing more than just a couple of days - and getting him back in the lineup for Thursday (the final pre-season game, against the B.C. Lions).

"He is having an outstanding camp.Everybody in Edmonton is pulling for Goldie.

"Hopefully this is nothing serious."

If McClendon can't go on Thursday night, that would likely leave rookie Tyler Ebell to carry the bulk of the load because Josh Ranek is still battling his own hamstring injury.

The Eskimos open the regular season on June 28 at Commonwealth Stadium, playing host to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.


Videos

Photos