Eskimos' J.C. Sherritt 'confident' he'll play in semifinal

J.C. Sherritt speaks to the media at Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 5, after winning his fourth...

J.C. Sherritt speaks to the media at Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 5, after winning his fourth Defensive Player of the Week. (Perry Mah/QMI Agency)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 PM ET

EDMONTON - The Edmonton Eskimos will do everything they can to get league-leading tackler J.C. Sherritt in the lineup on Sunday.

While a recurring ankle injury has kept the middle linebacker out of the first three days of practice this week, head coach Kavis Reed said the worst case scenario is Sherritt would start the East Division semifinal against the Toronto Argonauts, then get spelled off as necessary by backup Simoni Lawrence.

“Right now, we ran him again (Saturday),” Reed said. “We’re consulting our physicians and medical staff to make certain that we feel strongly that J.C. can give us a full game.”

If not, it would cost the Eskimos a valuable roster spot that could otherwise benefit in special-teams coverage against lead-leading kick returner Cory Boyd.

“He’s been battling this injury the last eight weeks,” Reed said of Sherritt’s ankle, which was compounded by a knee injury that saw him sit out one game during the regular season. “It’s the same story every week. We’re going to make certain that we do everything we possibly can (Saturday) and (Sunday) to really define where we think he can go.”

Of course, it didn’t help having his onfield teammates pile on top of him after setting a CFL record 130th tackle on the next-to-last play of the regular season in last week’s finale.

Sherritt was visibly limping on his way to the sideline after the short celebration.

“I feel good. I’m sure everybody who is playing on this field (Sunday) has a little ding here or there,” said Sherritt. “But it’s playoff football, so by this point, it doesn’t matter.

“I feel confident.”

Then again, the last thing he wants to do it dress for the game, go out for one play and have something happen that would cost his team a body for the rest of the do-or-die game.

While team doctors have assured Sherritt no more damage would be done by playing on the ankle, his pain tolerance was a concern.

Which meant he didn’t need to spend any extra time on the practice field heading into this one.

“It’s not something you want to get used to, but these last eight weeks I’ve been used to it,” Sherritt said. “It’s just knowing your body and making sure that if I’ve got to sit for the first three days (of practice) and then play in the game, then that’s what you’ve got to do.”

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