Linemen top birthday boy's list

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

Doug Berry turns 58 today.

If you're looking for that perfect gift for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach, a pair of 6-foot-6, 310-pound, all-star offensive linemen will do just fine.

That's because left tackle Dan Goodspeed and left guard Matt Sheridan won't be able to play Thursday night against the Edmonton Eskimos after suffering injuries during Saturday night's 44-16 loss to the Montreal Alouettes.

Preliminary reports indicate Goodspeed's knee injury (ACL) might be serious enough that he's done for the season, while Sheridan's groin damage could sideline him for as much as a month.

Backup offensive lineman Aaron Fiacconi (knee, MCL) is also questionable for Thursday's game.

Bombers GM Brendan Taman spent yesterday trying to scrounge up a Canadian guard and an American tackle -- former B.C. Lion Carl Gourgues was one of his targets -- but right tackle Mike Abou-Mechrek (shoulder) will return to the lineup after missing one game.

Winnipeg could also activate reserve players Dominic Picard and Marc Parenteau.

In other injury news, defensive tackle Ron Warner will be back in the lineup Thursday, and Berry is hopeful that cornerback Omar Evans will be, too.

RETURN DEPARTMENT: Berry said Albert Johnson III will likely remain as the team's kick and punt returner against the Eskimos, despite struggling against the Als.

"You like to say it's one guy, but you can't put your finger on any one thing," said Berry. "... If we can get five to 10 yards vertically on a return without a penalty, we've had a successful return, because not many guys in this league can average double digits."

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: LB Kyries Hebert had a pass knockdown, a tackle and a special teams tackle in his Blue debut Saturday.

He also had an interception late in the fourth quarter that was controversially overturned after a review. The referee ruled it was a simultaneous catch between Hebert and Als receiver Kerry Watkins, although it didn't appear that way on the replays.

Despite the blowout, Hebert likes what he sees from his new squad.

"We have a very good team," Hebert said. "I still believe in all these guys that are surrounding me. We're going to do a lot of great things for the rest of this season. I don't think this one game is going to define this team.

"I can't wait to get on the field again, get a chance to redeem ourselves."

LATE HIT: The Bombers have released LB Donny Green from their practice roster.


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