Bruce's status up in air

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

Arland Bruce III is inching closer to receiving a clean bill of health, but the Argos' leading receiver may remain on the injured list for one more game.

There were indications yesterday that the Argos (3-2) may not dress Bruce tomorrow against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-4) at the Rogers Centre after he suffered an adductor injury July 15 in B.C. against the Lions.

Bruce, who also thrives in the kick return game, sat out the Argos' 36-24 win over the Alouettes Thursday in Montreal and was hoping to return to face his old team tomorrow. But with the Argos not playing again until Aug. 12 at home against the Alouettes, the team might err on the side of caution with Bruce.

The injury is not particularly serious. There was hope Bruce would play in Montreal until a few days before the game. With the Argos coming off their best game of the season, there is no rush to bring Bruce back into the fold. Whether he plays of not, Bruce feels he's well down the road to recovery.

"I think the days (off) after we played B.C. helped," Bruce, who broke into the CFL with the Bombers in 2001 and played two seasons in Winnipeg before the San Francisco 49ers gave him a shot in the NFL, said yesterday.

"We had those five days off and then we took another game off and it really helped. I feel like I'm back on track."

Canadian receiver Michael Palmer started in place of Bruce in Montreal and didn't look out of place, making four receptions for 37 yards. If Bruce can't go, backup receiver Jean-Frederic Tremblay likely will remain in the lineup. If that's the case, the Argos will keep their roster intact from the Montreal game.

Bruce's fellow kick returner Bashir Levingston, who was banged-up in Montreal, will play tomorrow.

With yesterday being their only true practice day before the Bombers game, the Argos stayed on the field for a good 2 1/2 hours.

"(Yesterday) was a tough day," Argos coach Pinball Clemons said. "This is a grind. This is what is normally their off day and they come back (today) for their first day back (after a game). This is the day you're generally sorest. They came out and there was a pretty good tempo at practice and we got through quite a few things. Kudos to the group. Physically, this defies logic."

Clemons had an interesting piece of advice for the players.

"Mentally, we have to tell ourselves we're playing on three months (not three days) rest," he said.

With the Ottawa Renegades (3-3) winning 21-16 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders Friday, the Argos need to win tomorrow to maintain sole possession of first place in the East.


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