Avery rests sore hamstring

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

A frustrating season for John Avery became that much more frustrating last night.

The Argos running back, who lost his starting role when Ricky Williams signed with the team in the off-season, was expected to make his 2006 debut last night against the B.C. Lions.

But a slight tear of a hamstring, suffered during practice Monday, made him a late scratch and kept him on the sidelines yet again for a 28-8 loss at the Rogers Centre.

"(Argos doctor Anthony) Galea said he didn't want me to play this game because it's a very, very, small, small, small tear," Avery said. "He said if I was trying to be explosive, I would aggravate it and make the tear bigger. He said in a couple of days it could be 100%, so why go out there and make it a bigger tear. Let's get ready for Thursday (for a road game against the Montreal Alouettes).

Avery left practice early Monday with an injury and went for an ultrasound. He returned to the practice field two days later, but still didn't feel right and went for another ultrasound. That time, the tear showed up and on Thursday, the team decided Avery would sit and Canadian Jeff Johnson would start.

Argos coach Pinball Clemons said Avery definitely would be ready for a game Aug. 12 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and he has a chance to play against Montreal, but the chatty running back said he's in the upper 90% range to play against the Alouettes.

"I'm doing everything right now to make sure I'm ready for Thursday," he said. "I've got a fire inside me once I touch that field ... I'm looking for an inner explosion."

Meanwhile, with Williams out, the Argos didn't use their run game much, giving the ball to Johnson just five times.

"I think it's easy to say we have to start running more," Clemons said. "The fact is when you have one first down in a quarter and a half, there is just not a lot of plays."

Clemons did acknowledge the team tends to move away from the running game when times get rough.

"We do get too discouraged by lack of success with an early run," he said.


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