Pain won't stop Allen

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Not since the boy and the dike has there been such a fuss over a finger.

Argos quarterback Damon Allen said this past weekend that the injured middle finger on his throwing hand will likely need surgery in the not-so-distant future.

Allen was not specific concerning just when that would happen, which caused headaches for coach Mike Clemons, who was caught off guard yesterday when grilled about Allen's status.

"You're asking me to answer something I really don't know anything about," the coach said, following a film session at the team's Mississauga practice facility. "It's an awkward situation. I'm not withholding anything from you. There is just nothing to report."

Actually, there was.

After Clemons departed, the club's 43-year-old starting QB greeted the media and assured everyone that even though the finger will need surgery, barring an unforeseen accident, it will not happen until the season is over.

"I anticipate playing the rest of the year," said Allen, who threw for 319 yards in a 20-2 victory in Hamilton against the Ticats on Saturday night.

"It's not sore and that's a good sign," added Allen, who missed five of the first seven games because of the finger. "It's as normal as it can be. I know how to deal with pain."

The 3-5 Argos now have to deal with a visit by the 7-1 Montreal Alouettes at the Rogers Centre on Saturday night. Toronto remains four points behind Winnipeg for second-place in the East Division, but coach Clemons is feeling much better about his team these days with Allen looking like his former self and the backup QB situation improved with Michael Bishop back in the fold, following a successful stint in the Arena League.

Clemons also has Spergon Wynn if anything happens to Allen, or if Bishop's return to Toronto is short-lived. Another good sign was the performance on Saturday of running back John Avery, who rushed for 74 yards on 13 carries in his first game since Oct. 2005.

Bishop, who returned to Toronto on Friday and managed to score a TD against Hamilton, is unsure what lies ahead of him in Toronto. He plans to stick with the team during practice this week and go from there.

It appears Allen will start as long as his finger holds out and Bishop will be the first backup.

Ricky Williams, meanwhile, had stitches taken out of his broken arm last week. According to Clemons he is well on his way to returning in a few weeks.


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