Tackling a problem?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:27 AM ET

Concern is not a word any team wants associated with its medical update in the first week of the CFL playoffs.

But it sure looks like there should be some concern with the Edmonton Eskimos' offensive line as they prepare for the East Division semifinal in Winnipeg on Saturday.

Starting left tackle Garrick Jones missed yesterday's first practice of the week for the Green and Gold after getting his bell rung on Friday night against Montreal.

The club is not commenting on whether the four-year CFL veteran has a concussion and it's unclear when he might return to the practice field.

"No update," said Jones when asked for a status report on his health.

"We are just kind of waiting and watching and seeing what is what."

Jones thought he would be fine to play this week in the immediate aftermath of Friday's game.

He still gives positive answers to the media.

"We have been doing a lot of different tests, a lot of different exercises," said Jones on what is happening behind the scenes.

"We will be all right. I am feeling pretty good."

BLIND SIDE

But it is the training staff that clearly makes the final call on whether the last line of defence for quarterback Ricky Ray's blind side will be allowed to play on Saturday.

If Jones can't play in the crossover playoff game, there will likely be some significant shuffling along the offensive line for the most important tilt of the year.

One option among a few would be moving Aaron Fiacconi into a starting spot for the first time this year.

That would be quite a story-line.

Traded from Winnipeg to Edmonton in September 2007, Fiacconi might get a chance for payback against his former team.

"It would mean a lot (to play in Winnipeg this weekend)," he said.

"When a player gets traded away, obviously they have a different need and you are not in their plans.

LOOK BACK

"It would be nice to go back and prove to them that you are the player that you are, and that you are capable of doing some really special things in the CFL.

"To go back and play against them and beat them, would be a treat."

Another option for the Esks would be moving Tim Bakker into a starting role if Jones isn't cleared before the third and final practice tomorrow before the team departs for Winnipeg on Friday.

What doesn't appear to be a possibility is the Esks activating Joe McGrath to play this week.

Out of action since injuring an MCL in one knee on Sept. 26, McGrath hasn't practised since and is only doing light jogging along the sidelines right now.

It means that if Jones and McGrath are both unavailable for the first round of the playoffs, the Eskimos will be missing their regular tandem at tackle.

Considering the most important battle on Saturday will likely be in the trench involving Edmonton's O-line and Winnipeg's D-line, there will be a lot of pressure riding on the biggest bodies on the field.

FINISH LINES

Edmonton defensive tackle Eric Taylor pulled himself out of practice for a short time yesterday and limped to the bench.

He later returned to the drills.


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