Perry's season over

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

Any hope that Fred Perry had of returning to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers lineup this season appears to have been extinguished.

Head coach Mike Kelly, fresh off a four-day vacation to his hometown of Philadelphia, reported yesterday that Perry is facing up to six months of rehabilitation to fix his broken left upper arm.

The Grey Cup will be played three months from today in Canada.

Perry, a 34-year-old defensive end, suffered what is referred to as a "butterfly" break in the first half of Winnipeg's 37-10 win over B.C. on Aug. 21. A butterfly break is when the broken area looks like an X.

Perry said last weekend that his goal was to be back for the end of the regular season and the playoffs. Now that appears unlikely.

"They're telling me that's a five- to six-month healing period," Kelly said yesterday in his first media session after the bye. "Now, this is the same guy that I saw laying on the ground with his foot going in the opposite direction of his leg (last year in Toronto), and he came back and played pretty well.

"So I know he's a fast healer, but everything that the experts are telling me is that this is an injury that takes a while."

Kelly said they will be able to replace Perry with players they currently have on the roster. Canadians Riall Johnson or Shawn Mayne could take over, or import tackle Dorian Smith could move out to the end of the line.

"We've got good depth there, and we've got guys that give us flexibility as to whether they can play inside or outside," Kelly said. "So we spent the majority of (yesterday) morning talking about things, as to how the whole thing can be configured or reconfigured. We're not in a panic mode, by any means.

"... Will we change the ratio? I don't know. It might be a week-to-week thing depending on our opponent and where we think we're best-served. We're not going to just all of a sudden arbitrarily change what our direction is, but it's certainly always in our conversations as to how we're going to handle the ratio."

BACK AT IT: The bye week is officially over for the players, the majority of whom will flow back into Winnipeg today. A quick workout to dust off the cobwebs is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

They will get Monday off to play in the team's annual golf tournament at Larters at St. Andrews, and then it's back to the field on Tuesday to prepare for the 43rd Labour Day Classic next Sunday in Regina.

The Roughriders are 4-4.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: After getting away from the eye of the storm for a few days and reflecting upon his team's 3-5 start, Kelly feels good about this year's version of the Blue and Gold.

Now if only they could do something about that passing game ...

"If you would've said at the beginning our biggest difficulty would have been throwing the football, I wouldn't have anticipated that," Kelly said. "Right now, I can hold an argument with anybody that all facets of our football team are pretty darn good right now -- other than throwing the football."

The Bombers are averaging a paltry 153 passing yards per game and have only four touchdowns through the air.

SAFETY WATCH: Even if the Bombers put a Canadian at defensive end in place of Perry, don't expect to see Siddeeq Shabazz remain at safety when Canadian Ian Logan returns from a groin injury.

Shabazz, who has played outside linebacker for the most part this season, lined up at safety against the Lions and made one tackle.

"Siddeeq is more productive when he's closer to the line of scrimmage," Kelly said. "He's a little more active. Ian Logan has played pretty well for us, and we like him at free safety and would like for him to return there."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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