Ring-a-dinged up

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

Adam Braidwood stepped back into the ring.

Then he got dinged.

Braidwood sauntered off the practice field yesterday, shoulder pads and two knee braces at his side.

While he's trying to ease back into the lineup, Braidwood has accepted the fact he'll be unable to see action when the Esks host Saskatchewan Thursday night.

"I'm just shooting for the regular season now," said Braidwood. "I'm doing a little bit more every day."

It's not as if he didn't try.

Braidwood has stayed away from the fray most of this camp while a new set of knee braces were being manufactured to replace the ill-filling ones he was issued at the start of training camp.

He's been trying to ease himself back into the action after he twinged the medial collateral ligament earlier in camp after off-season surgery.

"I'm just kinda getting used to the braces and getting used to the knee," Braidwood said. "It feels a little bit different. Like I talked to everybody and they just said it takes a few practices to get used to it - to get the confidence back."

"NOBODY KNOWS WHICH KNEE I HURT, SO THEY CAN'T TARGET IT."

ESKS DEFENSIVE LINEMAN ADAM BRAIDWOOD

He took part in some early drills and tested the brace out, but then finished up the day watching his defensive linemates get into a bit of a scuffle and grunt it out toward the end of the session.

"I pushed off on hard, made some contact and had a guy roll up on it," said Braidwood.

"It felt all right.

"So, it's just a matter of getting used to it and getting in some more reps."

Braidwood was in good enough spirits to joke a bit about why he now has matching knee braces.

"Nobody can target me now," he said. "Nobody knows which knee I hurt, so they can't target it."

But there's a method to his newfound madness. It's a question of balance.

"It's just a preference thing," said Braidwood.

"When I was wearing the one, the other one (knee) started to hurt a little bit. I was compensating a bit. I just decided I'd wear two. I don't mind. When you're in the middle, guys are rolling up on you. It actually feels a little bit better when I run. It feels a bit more even. These things are so light anyway, I don't feel a thing."

HERE'S THE LINE:

Esks head coach Danny Maciocia likes what he sees along the offensive line.

"I think we're light-years ahead as far as protection goes," said Maciocia.

"We've simplified the blocking schemes up front. He (Ricky Ray) should have enough time to throw the ball now. He's going to have to take a hit along the way, but for the most part, he won't be as exposed as he was last year."

BOYS WILL BE BOYS:

Maciocia was somewhat taken aback when he was asked to react to a letter to the editor by a member of Edmonton's police commission, suggesting the training-camp scuffles promote violence in the community.

"When there's competition, there's going to be skirmishes," said Maciocia.

"If anybody's been to any professional training camp, you're going to get your share. As a football coach, I'm trying to take care of business and field a competitive team.

"I have the utmost respect for police officers and what they do to protect our community. It think there's bigger issues out there than worrying about a little fight here or there during the last 14 days of training camp."

Maciocia disagreed with the suggestion that the scuffles promote violence.

"There's a lot of violence out there," Maciocia said. "I don't think you have to come here to find violence. If you're looking for an apology, you won't find one here.

"Whether it's the NBA, the NHL, the NFL, the CFL, you're going to get your share. It happens every single year and in a lot of different places.

"There's also violence on the streets of Edmonton. That doesn't make Edmonton a bad city, one you don't want to live in. I feel awfully safe going home and I think my family feels safe going to school, getting groceries and playing in the park."


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