The Edmonton Eskimos will be without their top offensive weapon when they face the Calgary Stampeders this weekend, but it could always be worse.
When all-star slotback Fred Stamps dislocated his shoulder in last Friday’s game against the Toronto Argonauts, it appeared all too similar to last year’s injury that cost Jesse Lumsden his season — and possibly his career.
“That’s one of the first things that came to my mind when it happened,” Stamps said of the hit Lumsden took by Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz in the first quarter of the 2009 season opener.
The running back went on to compete in the bobsled at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but hasn’t played in the CFL since.
“When you get a dislocated shoulder, your (arm) is hanging, I was scared. I didn’t know what was going on, but it was the first time it happened to me,” Stamps said. “When the guy hit me, it wasn’t a hard hit or anything. It was just like he hit the sweet spot.
“Things happen like that in football but you’ve just got to keep moving.”
Stamps is expected to miss at least the next two weeks prior to the bye week and is dealing with swelling and soreness, but didn’t have his right arm in a sling at practice at Clarke Park Tuesday.
“I just thank God that it’s not major,” said Stamps, who is coming off a 2009 season where he led all receivers in the CFL with 85 catches for 1,402 yards.
He was challenging to repeat the feat before taking a hit Friday by Argos safety Willie Pile, which forced him to the sidelines where training staff put his shoulder back in place.
But Stamps may still get his chance after further testing Monday revealed positive results.
“The MRI came back, everything was good so that’s really exciting,” said Stamps, who leads the Eskimos with 609 receiving yards on 38 catches — one more catch and 106 yards ahead of slotback Kelly Campbell in second place.
But numbers are the farthest thing from Stamps’ mind as he is more concerned about the effect his loss will have on the team.
“We need everybody, but we have a lot of guys on our team who can come in and fill the position,” said Stamps, who was even in a joking mood with reporters. “A lot of people are saying (receivers) coach (Jason) Tucker is about to come back: ‘Sign coach Tucker back!’ ”
While it won’t be Tucker, whose playing career was cut short by a devastating neck injury suffered while playing for the Eskimos in 2008, the Eskimos are bringing in a replacement.
“We have another receiver coming in and he’ll be here (Wednesday),” said head coach Richie Hall. “It’s a player you’ve heard of before, it’s not someone that’s just completely out of the clear blue. It’s someone that’s had a familiarity with what we’re doing.”
All signs point to the return of wide receiver Efrem Hill, who was released July 12.
“He’s been on the short list,” Hall said. “I’ll let you know (Wednesday).”