Bombers QB battling bug

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have spent the week preparing for their biggest game of the season without their leader.

Quarterback Steven Jyles on Wednesday missed his second straight practice because of the flu, and the coaching staff is hopeful he will be healthy enough for their final workout of the week on Thursday.

The Bombers (3-9) visit the B.C. Lions (4-8) on Saturday at Empire Field and basically have to win if they're going to have any shot at the West Division crossover spot.

Having their No. 1 quarterback miss two of three practice days isn't what the doctor ordered.

"It's not fun," head coach Paul LaPolice said. "It's hard for a quarterback, because he's trying to throw timing routes and get in a rhythm -- especially with T.J. Harris back.

"So (Thursday) we'll try to get as many throws as we can for Steven and go from there."

The plan was for Jyles to come into the Bomber office later on Wednesday afternoon -- after the other players had gone home -- to watch film and go over the game plan with the coaching staff.

"He still wasn't in great shape, and we wanted to make sure he wasn't around the players and get anybody else sick," LaPolice said.

Backup Alex Brink, who was the third-stringer before Buck Pierce got hurt, has taken the bulk of the reps for the past two days.

LaPolice, meanwhile, refuted the notion that his team is officially cursed.

"Not at all," he said.

BACK AT IT: Jonathan Hefney was back patrolling the secondary in his familiar No. 23 on Wednesday, and it appears he'll be Winnipeg's sixth defensive back on Saturday against the Lions.

"I feel great. It was a good thing to get out here today and work with the fellas, see all my old teammates and new teammates that I got. I just had a ball," said Hefney, who will see significant time on special teams as well.

"I'm getting used to the big field again, but I'm in shape. I can run."

RECEIVERSHIP: Wide receiver Greg Carr practised with the first-team offence at the start of practice, but Adarius Bowman was back in the position by the end of the two-hour workout.

It's still up in the air as to which player will start on Saturday in B.C., but it looks like it will be Carr if he's healthy.

"(Carr) was kind of sore today, so we'll see," LaPolice said.

FINE WINE: Doug Brown celebrated his 36th birthday on Wednesday, and LaPolice offered a gift of praise for the all-star defensive tackle.

"The best players I've been around, the oldest players that I've been around, have probably had the best work ethic," LaPolice said. "And I'll name three: Danny McManus, Milt Stegall and now Doug Brown.

"(Brown) still plays at a high level, and the reason he does is he takes care of his body better than the 24-, 23-, 22-year-olds. You can overcome a lot of things that way."

LATE HITS: Co-ordinator Kavis Reed was barking at his defence throughout Wednesday's workout, at one point bringing them together and giving them quite the tongue lashing. Clearly audible at one point was Reed yelling, "We're 3-and-(bleeping)-9!" ... The Gibson's Finest players of the month for September are quarterback Darian Durant (offensive) and slot-back Andy Fantuz (Canadian) of Saskatchewan, and defensive end Ronald Flemons (defensive) and returner Chad Owens (special teams) of Toronto.


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