Weapon arrives

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- Ricky Ray's No. 1 weapon will arrive in the Manitoba capital today.

But Jason Tucker hasn't officially received clearance to play tomorrow against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Edmonton Eskimos all-star receiver has a thigh injury, suffered in practice last week.

He played with it last Friday in Vancouver but went to the doctor yesterday.

Tucker believes he is healthy enough to play, but as a precautionary move the club is also bringing receiver Fred Stamps on the trip.

"(We'll) work him out two or three hours before the game," said Esks' head coach Danny Maciocia yesterday.

If Tucker passes the test, he will play and Stamps will be a healthy scratch.

If the thigh stiffens up on Tucker, he will be placed on the four-man reserve list before game time, giving Stamps his first regular season game.

"We need him out there and being able to make those plays for us," said Ray on Tucker.

Tucker injured his thigh while trying to catch a ball on a low pass from Stefan LeFors in practice last week.

BLACK AND BLUE

The Blue Bomber secondary could be ripe for the picking. When Edmonton takes the field tomorrow, they will be seeing a revamped Bomber defence.

The Bombers will be without veteran cornberbacks Anthony Malbrough (hamstring) and Robert Bean (knee), while veteran Davin Bush will start but with a heavily taped ankle.

On top of that, Winnipeg might have to dress rookie Chijioke Onyenegecha.

"It is a rare chance," said Edmonton receiver Trevor Gaylor.

"But as soon as starters go down, a new starter is born.

"You don't want a guy to earn a starting job on you.

"You want to take advantage of the lack of experience."

Ray feasted on the Bombers and their regular secondary in Week 1 of the regular season, throwing for 394 yards and five touchdowns.

GASS OUT

Linebacker A.J. Gass will not play this week. But it appears he will play next week.

"You can turn to it and call it an excuse - which I guess it would be - but if there is one guy I pencilled in as being our leader and our heart and soul, he is not in there right now. That's No. 77 A.J. Gass," said Maciocia. "We need him back in there."

Gass torn some meniscus in his left knee during training camp. He had hoped to be playing this week, but he stays off the field because he clearly isn't healthy enough to play in all situations.

"I need him to come out and say: 'Just play me,'" relayed Maciocia.

"And right now, we are not there yet. But I know we are going to be there in a week's time."

SHORT HIT

Maciocia would ideally like to settle on one starting running back. Veteran Ron McClendon gets the rock this week after Tyler Ebell played the first two games of the regular season.

"The last thing I want to do is play Russian roulette at that position," said the coach.

"I don't want anybody to play the position with a loaded gun and I don't want to coach with a loaded gun pointed to my head.

"Hopefully there is going to be some continuity here.

"And eventually - and I don't know how to do this yet - is to put him (McClendon) and Ebell on the roster (together)."


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