The hits just keep on coming for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers when it comes to injuries.
The Blue and Gold, who have 13 players on their various injured lists, lost rookie receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris, safety Ian Logan, kick returner Markus Howell and special teamer Jerry-Ralph Jules on Saturday in Calgary.
None of the players will be in the lineup when the Bombers (2-3) begin a critical home-and-home with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-4) at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Saturday.
Jeffers-Harris sustained a high ankle sprain and will be out of the lineup for no fewer than two weeks. Logan and Howell, who both suffered hamstring injuries, are also looking at two-week recovery times.
Expect Chris Davis or Jamayel Smith to replace Jeffers-Harris in the starting lineup, while Brady Browne will take over for Logan.
Jules, meanwhile, broke his right leg in the first quarter of Saturday’s 23-20 loss to the Stamps and will be out for eight weeks.
“What’s been really different for any of my years in this league is how many Canadians have been hurt,” head coach Paul LaPolice said. “I’ve never seen this many Canadians get hurt. We have a lot of guys getting hurt at that position and it’s hard to replace.”
LaPolice also revealed that weak-side linebacker Marcellus Bowman, who got hurt a week ago against Edmonton, will miss another four to six weeks after surgery on his broken and lacerated hand. The surgeon put two screws in his hand to keep the bones in place.
LaPolice said the team will likely be replenishing its stock of players as early as Tuesday, when the team returns to the practice field.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Bombers on the injury front, however, as No. 1 quarterback Buck Pierce will test his right knee sprain on Tuesday. Pierce has missed the last two games since injuring the joint in Hamilton on July 16.
LaPolice said Pierce has been healing “great” and that he’s itching to get back in the lineup.
“He’ll try to do whatever he can,” LaPolice said.
Backup quarterback Steven Jyles is 1-1 as Pierce’s replacement.
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Dorian Smith, who has missed three games with a knee sprain, and punter Mike Renaud, who sat out the Calgary game due to a knee bruise, are expected to practise on Tuesday as well.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS: LaPolice said Jyles probably should have looked for the first down instead of going to the end zone on the final play of Saturday’s game.
The Bombers were at the Stamps’ 30-yard line when Jyles, on third-and-10, overthrew Terrence Edwards in the end zone.
“He felt that even though there were some people deep, he had a position to throw it to Terrence Edwards, which if he kind of read Terrence’s angle better he probably would’ve thrown a touchdown, because Terrence got behind both guys,” LaPolice said.
“In zone structure (which the Stamps defence was in) he has a throw for the first down so you don’t have to throw it 30 yards. So that wasn’t our plan.”
DROP, NOT A DROP? Winnipeg’s first-down play from the Calgary 30 was an end zone toss to Brock Ralph, who had the ball bounce off his shoulder pads.
LaPolice will talk to Ralph about the play on Tuesday, but the coach sounded as if he thought the pigskin should have caught.
“If he could’ve jumped sooner he could’ve at least got his hands on it instead of his shoulder pad,” LaPolice said. “But he’s getting pushed off, too, as that goes on. It’s a tough catch, but that’s what we get paid to do.”