Blue bring in reinforcements

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

The nightmare just keeps getting scarier for the Blue Bombers.

Winnipeg has lost two starting linebackers to injury for a month, head coach Doug Berry revealed yesterday. And were unable to complete a trade for a replacement.

Both middle linebacker Joe Lobendahn (knee) and strong-side linebacker Ike Charlton (groin) will be out of action for the next four weeks after suffering their hurts during Sunday's game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

As a result, the Bombers signed free agent linebacker/rush end Kai Ellis and attempted to acquire middle linebacker Zeke Moreno from Hamilton for defensive end Tom Canada yesterday. But that deal was cancelled when the Bombers discovered that Canada is suffering from an ailment last night.

At least, Ellis is already in town and the 6-foot, 254-pound University of Washington product is expected to practice with the Bombers today. Ellis was recently released by the Montreal Alouettes in a salary-cap move.

"(Ellis) is a versatile guy whom we think is going to be able to help us at a couple of positions," Berry said. "He's played some linebacker, he's played some defensive end. He's a veteran guy who I like to see play from an offensive perspective as well. So, I think he should be able to give us some immediate help.

"He's probably a little better suited at defensive end but he could also probably give us some help at middle linebacker."

Ellis is expected to suit up, likely at defensive end, when the Bombers play the Argos in Toronto on Friday.

Pierre-Luc Labbe, a rookie Canadian, had replaced Lobendahn, who suffered his injury just before halftime.

"He finished the game and did OK," Berry said. "He had very limited experience but he's aggressive and he wants to be good."

To replace Charlton, the Bombers have import Marcus Winn and defensive back Kelly Malveaux has played some strong-side linebacker.

STILL LEARNING: Berry actually defended the play of S Ian Logan after blaming him for blowing his responsibility on several long bombs during the game against the Roughies.

"It was surprising to me in (film) evaluation that we actually got pretty good play from our free safety, Ian Logan -- except for the major errors," Berry said. "Other than that, he was really solid there."

In fact, Logan will likely start at safety again this week.

"He played a good football game," Berry said. "The last play of the game (Gerran Walker reception) was not his (responsibility). The last play of the first half (Saskatchewan touchdown), he could have been in a better position and there was another play where he could have been in better position. But, for the most part, he was playing a good football game.

"These are the things a young guy has to learn and unfortunately, sometimes, it cost us a touchdown in terms of learning a lesson. But I think that Ian Logan is a bright guy and I'm sure he'll learn a lesson from this. If he does and couple that with the way he is playing 90% of the time and I think we should have a good safety back there."


Photos