Barnes knows what Stamps is going through

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Fred Stamps was walking gingerly around the team’s hotel on Sunday, after getting released from hospital the night before following emergency abdominal surgery.

The Edmonton Eskimos slotback will return to Edmonton Monday to begin his four to six weeks of recuperation, while the rest of the team remains behind, practising for Thursday’s game in Montreal.

Stamps, who was injured on the first play of last Friday’s game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and ended up with internal bleeding, appeared understandably disappointed and declined to comment publicly on his situation.

But it was encouraging to the rest of his team to see him up and about.

“I’m very happy that our doctors and the doctors here took care of him and took care of him so quickly,” said head coach Kavis Reed. “Given the gravity of the situation, it was a blessing that he was able to be in surgery when he needed to, and he needed it right away.”

Just as fellow Eskimos slotback Jason Barnes did last October after rupturing his spleen and bruising a kidney and lung while making a catch against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that ended his season.

“It’s always scary when somebody has to go to the hospital, you know? I can relate,” said Barnes, who spent more than a week in a Hamilton hospital before being placed on the nine-game injured list. “I had no idea, actually, until the next day because I was texting him and didn’t hear back from him.

“(Andrew) Nowacki texted me that he talked to him and he was in the hospital.”

While the extent of the injury wasn’t as bad as what Barnes suffered last season, it was still life threatening.

“Definitely not (as bad), but still, it’s scary for what he had to go through so I feel his pain,” said Barnes. “It was good to see him here walking around, so everything is good.

“You always take a hit when you lose a talent like Fred, but it just gives the opportunity for other guys to step up and make some plays.”

Barnes finally got a chance to talk to Stamps, who appeared to be kicked by Bombers defensive back Jonathan Hefney.

“I don’t know if I want to go into details, but he said everybody saw the play, it was accidental on (Hefney’s) part,” Barnes said. “I could tell he was in pain during the game, I just didn’t know how severe it was.”

RETURN CONCERN: Brian Bonner will not be returning kicks against the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday.

While taking care of the majority of the Eskimos return duties in Friday’s loss to the Bombers, the defensive back injured a hamstring, leaving a hole in one aspect of special teams that has been a concern this season.

“We, as a coaching staff have been looking at it and I do know this: it’s not scheme,” said Reed. “I do know that it’s not a matter of our coaches not putting in the effort and the time. We have to find the right chemistry, not just from returners, but from guys blocking them.

“Our blocking hasn’t been up to par, it hasn’t been good enough for our returners to really spring anything big for us. We’re not going to dramatically change schemes, we’re going to definitely make certain that we have the right personnel.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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