Working off the rust

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

So, did the Bombers spend more time in the clubs or in the gym during their bye week?

Arjei Franklin, take it away ...

"There were more people in the gym, I would say," the wide receiver said with a chuckle yesterday. "We came back and we looked pretty sharp for the first day after eight days off. It's going to be a good rest of the season."

The 3-5 Bombers returned to the practice field yesterday after the aforementioned eight-day break. They spent 60 minutes working the rust off and will play in the annual Bomber golf tournament today at Larters.

They will then have four full days to prepare for Sunday's 43rd Labour Day Classic against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at sold-out Mosaic Stadium in Regina. The Riders lead the series 24-18.

"I'm just excited to play this rivalry again," head coach Mike Kelly said. "It's one of the greatest rivalries in sport. It's a shame that not more people know about it."

ARJEI UPDATE: Still no decision on whether or not the Bombers will pull Franklin off the nine-game injured list early in an effort to get their struggling passing game going.

Franklin has missed six games so far and isn't eligible to return until Sept. 26 against Toronto. If they bring him back early, his salary from the games he's missed will count towards the team's salary cap total.

"I felt really good out there, and I think I'm game-ready," said Franklin, who started practising two weeks ago. "It's just the waiting game now. It's out of my control."

Hem and haw

Kelly continues to hem and haw.

"I'm not quite convinced yet that he has the explosiveness that he had prior to it," the coach said. "We'll keep looking at it. I know it's heavily wrapped right now. You can see it."

VIP DAYS: Players watching yesterday's workout included slotback Terrence Edwards (turf toe), linebacker Barrin Simpson (turf toe), defensive end Riall Johnson (foot), receiver Craphonso Thorpe (hamstring), linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz (foot) and cornerback James Johnson (knee).

Kelly said none of the injuries are significant, but more will be known tomorrow.

Safety Ian Logan and defensive lineman Dorian Smith, who both missed Winnipeg's 37-10 win over B.C. on Aug. 21, both practised yesterday.

LATE HITS: Don Oramasionwu was at tackle and Dorian Smith was at the end spot yesterday, but Kelly said it's too early to decide what the new-look defensive line will look like without the injured Fred Perry ... The Bombers have released receiver Lorne Sam ... Kicker Alexis Serna and defensive back Jonathan Hefney missed yesterday's workout, but both had excused absences. Serna missed a connecting flight in Vancouver, while Hefney was allowed to attend a wedding.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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