Simpson out for season

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

The news is not good for Barrin Simpson and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Simpson, the team's middle linebacker, will likely miss the remainder of the season with what is believed to be a torn pectoral muscle. The official diagnosis will be made tomorrow.

Simpson suffered the injury late in the fourth quarter of Friday's 27-18 loss to the B.C. Lions at BC Place.

"He's certainly a big leader on defence, and one of the things this team needs is leadership," head coach Doug Berry said. "Losing a guy like Barrin is not going to help that aspect of it and you're taking a guy that is a good football player off the field."

After struggling in the first three games, Simpson bounced back against the Lions before getting hurt. Rookie Joe Lobendahn will start in Simpson's place on Thursday against the Calgary Stampeders.

"We're very fortunate to have a guy like him here," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said of Lobendahn. "He's a good overall football player. With experience, he will be a nice fit for our defence."

Taman said neither Scott Coe or Brian Clark are possible replacements for Simpson.

Simpson wasn't the only injury hit the reeling Bombers took on Friday. Outside linebacker Ike Charlton hyperextended his knee, right guard Kyle Koch sprained his ankle, and special teamer Pierre-Luc Labbe went down with a thigh bruise.

Labbe won't play Thursday, while Charlton and Koch are doubtful. If none of them plays, Taman said Kelly Malveaux would likely move to Charlton's spot, Sam Young would take over for Malveaux at defensive back, Greg Bearman would return to the lineup for Labbe, and Matt O'Meara would be the likely replacement for Koch.

And contrary to Berry on Thursday, Taman said slotback Milt Stegall is "highly doubtful" for Thursday's contest.

Injuries won't be the only reason for roster changes this week. Berry delivered that warning during his post-game speech.

"We're really gonna have to think about where we're at," Berry said. "And like I told the team: I hope that you played a good football game, because we're going to have to make some tough decisions."

HOPPING MAD: The Bombers seethed over the non-call in the fourth quarter when Lions defensive back Korey Banks appeared to knock down Arjei Franklin in the end zone. Banks then intercepted the Kevin Glenn pass.

Had pass interference been called, the Bombers, trailing 24-18 at the time, would have gotten the ball at the B.C. one-yard line with five minutes to go. Instead, the Lions marched 95 yards on their game-clinching drive.

The Bombers chose their words carefully after the match.

"I can't comment on it, because if I make a comment on it, it involves the refs, and we'll probably get fined for making a comment about the refs, so I really can't comment on it," Glenn said.

"It was dangerously close to illegal contact," Taman added.

NOT QUITE THERE YET: Tailback Charles Roberts had more receiving yards (53) than rushing yards (51) on Friday. That run total is nowhere near large enough for Berry's liking.

"We're not breaking out," Berry said. "You can see what other teams are doing. Their running backs are breaking out, and we're not breaking out. We can't live on a three-yard carry."

QUOTABLE: "We still lost, so we didn't get better. We are 0-4. We did not get better."

-- Defensive tackle Jerome Haywood, when asked if the Bombers could take anything positive out of Friday's loss.


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