Eskimos rushers aren't rushing back

Eskimos defensive tackle Ted Laurent, top, shown here tackling Roughriders' Kory Sheets earlier...

Eskimos defensive tackle Ted Laurent, top, shown here tackling Roughriders' Kory Sheets earlier this season, has been out for almost a month with an ankle injury, took part in practice this week but doesn't expect to be in the lineup Monday. (QMI Agency/CODIE MCLACHLAN)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:10 PM ET

EDMONTON - They are known for their pass-rushing ability, just don’t expect Marcus Howard or Ted Laurent to be rushed back into the Edmonton Eskimos lineup in time for the Labour Day Classic.

The defensive linemen have returned to the practice field this week in order to test drive leg injuries, and coaches are awaiting an official prognosis before determining their playing status for Monday’s game (2:30 p.m., TSN, 630 CHED).

“We’re going to take this one up until probably Sunday before we decide,” said head coach Kavis Reed. “Marcus had a very good day and Ted had a good day but was sore, so we pulled him out a bit earlier.

“We’ll do the same (Saturday) and just see how it goes.”

But initial reactions weren’t good from either Howard, who led the Eskimos in sacks last season, or Laurent, who currently leads the team and is tied second overall with five, despite missing all of August with an ankle injury.

“It’s just feeling OK, I just wanted to see how it felt so I was testing it out. That’s it,” said Howard, who practised Thursday but only made a brief appearance Friday before retreating to the locker-room. “It didn’t feel like myself, so I’m just going to take my time with it and see how it goes. Hopefully I can get out there this Monday. If not, I’m not going to rush it.”

He injured his hamstring in a Week 4 win over the B.C. Lions, while Laurent sat out the last two games with an ankle injury after putting together a streak of five consecutive games with a sack.

“I went to test it and see how it feels, and it’s not ready yet,” said Laurent, who was a no-show on Friday. “My goal is to come back hopefully next week, but you never know.”

With the biggest rivalry game of the season fast approaching, calling it a disappointment for the two D-linemen is an understatement.

“I didn’t know about it until last year to see how serious it was and intense it was. The fact that I’m not going to be a part of it this year is real disappointing,” said Laurent, who has tasked himself with getting a sack in each game he plays this season, despite being an interior tackle. “But it’s a long season, we’ve still got a lot of games to go so I’m just going to sit this (series) out and hopefully I should be ready for Hamilton.”

Howard has his sights set on next week’s rematch, at the earliest.

“It’s the big rivalry game, I want to play Monday and Friday,” he said, adding the quick turnaround makes that all but impossible.. “It’s just a big risk right now. I don’t want to go out there if I’m not myself.”

Howard came up with a sack in both of last year’s Labour Day series games, but said the worst thing he could do was come back too soon and re-aggravate the injury.

“It’s real disappointing, but it’s football. I didn’t plan on getting hurt,” he said. “The only thing I can do is rehab it and hopefully get back out as soon as possible.”

IN AND OUT: LT Simeon Rottier and C Kyle Koch returned to practice after sitting Thursday out with a flu bug that went through the locker-room.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SunModdejonge


Photos