Kick mark snapped by Ryan

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

No, no, no, it is not akin to a batter sitting out the last game of the year to make sure he wins the battling title.

Winnipeg punter Jon Ryan is actually suffering from a torn ligament on the inside of his left ankle, the result of a touchdown-saving tackle in last Saturday's game against B.C. Yes, really.

Ryan will now finish the season with a 50.6-yard average, breaking the CFL record of 50.2 held by Lion legend Lui Passaglia, which led some fans to suggest that Ryan is pretending.

"Did they think limping around the field on Saturday was a fake?" Ryan responded.

Actually, the injury could affect Ryan's hopes of landing an NFL contract this winter.

"I don't think it will," Ryan said. "The plan with me and my agent is that we were going to take November off and let my leg rest up a little bit. Now it's supposed to be 3-6 weeks so, it won't cut into my training for the season or into my plans if NFL interest does arise."

Ryan could sign with an NFL team as soon as December.

But there is no truth to the rumour that placekicker Troy Westwood, who will now take over the punting duties as well, is Ryan's agent. Westwood has handled the double duty before.

"I punt every day in practice so, it's really no big deal," Westwood said. "I'm ready to go."

OL WOES: Just when it looked like things could not get any worse for Winnipeg's offensive line, guard Mike Abou-Mechrek came up limping after a play late in yesterday's practice. The Bombers could already be missing the likes of OL Matt Sheridan, Aaron Fiacconi and Dan Gyetvai, all with knee sprains.

Centre Cory Annett, who returned after getting cut a few weeks ago, and guard Marc Parenteau, took turns with the starting offence yesterday.

Annett, by the way, was happy to get the call because it will mean a little extra cash for him.

"I watched the game (against the Lions) so I was hoping to get the call," he said. "I was ecstatic. It feels just like home. I'm associated with a team so that's a positive, especially in this career."

It was suggested that the Bombers could bring OL Chris Walby out of retirement for one last game.

"If he would like to play, I'm sure we would do something for him," joked OL coach Mike Gibson.

HASHMARKS: Also sitting out of yesterday's practice were: DE Gavin Walls (hamstring, DB Boyd Barrett (turf toe) and DB Anthony Malbrough (hamstring) ... Joe Fleming lined up at defensive end ... A second Bombers Store will open on the second floor of Portage Place Shopping Centre tomorrow. Milt Stegall, Tom Canada, Kevin Glenn and Keith Stokes will sign autographs, 2-5 p.m.


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