M*A*S*H unit

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimo MASH unit is still packed - but there is a small piece of good news.

While nine starters missed practice yesterday with injuries, Shannon Garrett returned to the practice field.

Arguably the club's defensive MVP through the first half of the season because he can play so many positions, Garrett missed the last game because of a below-the-belt injury he sustained when he was accidentally kneed against Calgary on Aug. 4.

"I am not 100%," stated Garrett. "But there is not much pain going on right now.

"So just go out there and try to protect myself so it doesn't happen again."

If Garrett can pass the next two days of practice, he will play Saturday in Regina - wearing extra equipment - against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Where he plays is unclear. He could play halfback, cornerback or SAM-linebacker.

There are also several other questions, as Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia has to sort through all of his battered bodies.

The status of the injured players - entering this morning's practice - for this week's game is as follows:

- DB Omarr Morgan (hamstring): questionable

- LB Antico Dalton (back): out

- OL Dan Comiskey (calf): questionable

- S J.R. LaRose (shoulder): questionable

- RB Tyler Ebell (shoulder): out

- DB Stanford Samuels (turf toe): questionable

- WR Pat Woodcock (knee): questionable

- SB T.J. Acree (foot): probable

- OL Kevin Lefsrud (concussion): out

- DE Chuck Alston (hip pointer): questionable

Comiskey did practise yesterday with the first-team offence at left guard. He has missed the last four games with a torn calf muscle.

But the Esks also rotated import Damion Cook into left guard with the first-team yesterday.

A decision on that spot likely won't come until tomorrow.

But if Comiskey sits, it will likely be the first time the Esks have started two imports - Cook and Raleigh Roundtree - on the O-line in a regular season game since at least 1992.

Regardless of how it shakes out, backup Rhett McLane - who has been the sixth lineman the entire season - won't get the start in place of an injured Lefsrud.

"It is a little bit frustrating," said McLane, who will have plenty of friends in the crowd in Regina on Saturday.

"It is not like I don't want to be in there.

"I want to start. I want to play.

"Whatever they (the coaches) think is best then I am going to go on with it."

This is the worst injury bug that Maciocia has experienced in his 11-year CFL coaching career.

Making matters worse, he's trying to stick to the apparently enforced $4.05-million salary cap.

"I pretty much made a promise to myself - we wanted as an organization to find a way to compete every single week and be under the cap," explained Maciocia.

"As we are speaking, we are under the cap by a significant amount.

"But they (the injuries) are just chewing away at it right now.

"If it doesn't get better real soon, we could have some challenges with the cap."

FINISH LINES: At the moment, Will Loftus is playing safety. But that could change by the end of the week ... Recovering from knee surgery, Jason Tucker wasn't at practice and won't play this week.


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