Ricky might rebound

CON GRIWKOWSKY, EDMONTON SUN; SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

What's left?

Other than Stefan LeFors's throwing arm?

When the Edmonton Eskimos head back to work tomorrow, what's left is a daunting task.

Even with a healthy Ricky Ray, the Esks developed an allergy for the end zone the past two games.

It's now all but official that Ray's regular season is done, so the playoff run depends on how well the team rallies around inexperienced quarterbacks.

Although concise results of X-ray and MRI tests Ray underwent yesterday are unavailable, it's expected his shoulder separation will keep him out of the lineup for four to six weeks.

Still, head coach Danny Maciocia insists he's not about to signal he's given up on the season by putting Ray on the nine-game injured list.

"If there's any hope of him coming back, we owe it to ourselves to leave that possibility open," said Maciocia. "Even if he's out for six weeks - and we have five weeks left - nobody will be throwing in the towel."

One unknown is Ray's healing ability.

"We still think we can make it into the playoffs," said Maciocia.

"The last thing we want to do is nine-game him and not have him available at all. Try to explain that."

A plethora of injuries has already brought the Esks perilously close to busting the salary cap, but there's apparently enough wiggle-room left.

If Ray was put on the nine-game list, his salary would not count toward the cap, but Maciocia said that's not the main issue.

"It's a difficult situation," said Maciocia. "We're OK with the cap right now."

A return match in Toronto on Saturday against the CFL's No. 1 pass defence kicks off the final five games of the regular season.

Before you cue up the Mission Impossible theme, bear in mind Edmonton is not alone in this unfamiliar Alberta funk.

Less than a week ago, Stampeders fans were convinced their season was done after starter Henry Burris dislocated his shoulder.

"One or the other are going to be wrong about that ... maybe both," Maciocia said of the anxiety in both Alberta cities about the prospect of their teams missing the playoffs.

One of the squads is going to limp into the playoffs, and chances are it's going to be the first one that finds a way to win ugly.

Since the Stamps have won already won the Alberta series, it'll be much tougher for the Esks.

Still, the team is preparing for a stretch drive without Ray.

"We need to believe in the people we have,'' said Maciocia.

The team is currently negotiating with a free-agent quarterback to back up LeFors and Steven Jyles.

It is believed the Eskimos are talking to someone on their negotiation list. It is possible it is Jared Zabransky, who played for Boise St.


Videos

Photos