Murphy set to play with pain

TERRY KOSHAN, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:15 PM ET

MONCTON — Two weeks felt like two years for Rob Murphy.

The Argonauts offensive lineman isn’t rushing back into the lineup for Touchdown Atlantic after dealing with a heel injury that made him miss two games, but he will be playing through some pain.

“I’m sucking it up,” the bearded, tattooed, and earring-wearing Murphy said on Friday. “With a couple of more years in my career, each game is precious. I wanted to come back as soon as possible.

“This is crunch time now, and we have to get on a roll. All the good teams I was on in B.C., this was when we would start cranking it up for a run at the end of the season.”

Cedric Gagne-Marcoux, who had been out with a calf problem, also will take up his familiar spot on the O-line against the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday. But the decision has not been made as to whether Adriano Belli, who has missed six games with a foot problem, will play. Belli has been practising on and off this week, but the injury did not stop him going for a dip in the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday with some other members of the organization.

There’s a buzz around the Argos as the offence will have nearly all of its original pieces, except for running back Cory Boyd, who has not practised as he recovers from a concussion.

But head coach Jim Barker recognizes that the team won’t get off the ground if quarterback Cleo Lemon struggles as he did during a win this past Sunday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, when he passed for a personal season-low of 90 yards.

“He has 11 games in this league and it is time for him to step forward and show whether we are going to be a Grey Cup team or (not),” Barker said. “I expect him to play at a high level.”

Argos fans might see more out of running back Anthony Alridge, who will have the benefit of a full week of practice heading into his second CFL game. Alridge was thrown into the clash with the Bombers following just a couple of days of workouts, but now has a better handle on what he’s doing.

A good friend of Boyd, the two call themselves Thunder (Boyd) and Lightning (Alridge). Where Boyd runs over people to get yards, Alridge darts through holes and is fast.

“Now I know the pace of the game, what to expect and what the coaches expect from me,” Alridge said. “I’m more comfortable about where the blocking is coming from, so hopefully that gives me a few more yards.”

And the fans who have started flocking to this part of the country for the first CFL regular-season game at a neutral site aren’t the only ones who know it’s not just another game.

“There are huge playoff implications for both teams,” Barker said. “Edmonton is only a win out of being in third place. And to have to the game here in a Grey Cup atmosphere just adds to the intrigue of it. It’s a big ball game.”


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