Bombers' Lobendahn injured

Kirk Penton, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:15 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have their first losing streak of the season, and they might have to get out of it without a key member of their defence.

Middle linebacker Joe Lobendahn, who twice this season has been named the CFL defensive player of the week, went down with a knee injury on a punt return in the second quarter of Sunday’s 45-23 loss to Saskatchewan.

The 28-year-old Hawaiian will be evaluated further on Monday, but all signs point to it being a serious injury.

“That’s part of this game,” head coach Paul LaPolice said. “I hope we can overcome those. The next guy’s gotta step in and play.”

Pierre-Luc Labbe took over for Lobendahn since the Bombers decided to make Merrill Johnson a healthy scratch. Winnipeg could move Marcellus Bowman to the middle and have Johnson play the weak side if Lobendahn misses any time.

“I didn’t really know how bad it was until I came in the locker-room after the first half,” Labbe said. “He looked disappointed. Joe is more than a teammate. He’s a really, really good friend.

“It sucks to see a guy, who’s got a good work ethic like that, go down with a serious injury.”

TURNOVERS ARE BAD: Winnipeg fell to 0-3 this season when losing the turnover battle. It is 7-0 when they come out on top in that department.

“It’s going to be hard when you turn the ball over that much,” LaPolice said.

Winnipeg’s league-leading turnover ratio plummeted from plus-21 to plus-16, but the next best team is Edmonton at plus-4.

BATTERED BUCK: For the second time this season, Buck Pierce was crushed by a blitzing defender who got to him untouched. Craig Butler did it on Sunday after Hamilton’s Jamall Johnson did it in Week 1.

“We knew they were going to blitz,” LaPolice said. “We checked to a quick screen. The receiver didn’t hear it. He missed the check. I told Buck, ‘If you know he missed the check, just get the ball out of your hands.’ ”

LATE HITS: Despite the lopsided score, Winnipeg had more first downs, passing yards, rushing yards, total yards and time of possession than Saskatchewan … The Bombers had two 100-yard receivers in the same game, Terrence Edwards and Cory Watson, for the first time since October 2009, when Edwards and Titus Ryan turned the trick … Pierce’s five interceptions were the most by a Winnipeg quarterback since Khari Jones did it against Toronto on July 15, 2003 … Including the 2007 Grey Cup, the Bombers are 3-11 against Saskatchewan since the start of the 2005 season. The Roughriders have swept the Labour Day-Banjo Bowl series three times in the last four years … Andy Fantuz had two catches for 47 yards in his return to the Riders.


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