Pierce still iffy against Als

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:26 PM ET

WINNIPEG - The jury is still out on whether Buck Pierce will play this Sunday in Montreal.

The good news for Bomber fans is the team’s No. 1 quarterback vowed to be on the practice field Thursday morning.

The bad news is he wasn’t out there on Wednesday and still isn’t completely healed after suffering bruised ribs in Sunday’s Banjo Bowl.

Pierce said he needs to practise Thursday and Friday if he’s going to suit up in Sunday’s East Division first-place showdown between the Bombers (7-3) and Alouettes (6-4).

“I’m not one of those guys can go all week and not practise and just get treatment and then show up to the game and expect to perform well,” Pierce said. “I need to get reps with our guys, and if I’m feeling good throughout the week then we’ll make a decision then.”

Backup Alex Brink took all of the first-team reps on Wednesday when the Bombers returned to the practice field for the first time since the Saskatchewan Roughriders waxed them 45-23 in the Banjo Bowl.

The second-year pivot out of Washington State University has one career start under his belt — a disastrous outing against the B.C. Lions last season — but he feels much more confident about his game one year later.

“Oh, from a year ago I’m unbelievably more comfortable,” Brink said. “My play’s demonstrated that, the way I feel on the practice field … during the games I see things more clearly.

“Obviously I’ve got a lot to learn still, but I feel comfortable with where I’m at.”

Pierce has dealt with a rib injury at least twice in his CFL career, both times with the B.C. Lions. He left a 2007 contest with bruised ribs but played the following week. He also hurt them in a 2008 game but didn’t miss any action.

“It’s sore. I’ve been banged up like this before, but it’s not my first time,” Pierce said. “I know how to recover from it, and I know my capabilities by how sore it is.”

The 29-year-old suffered the injury on Winnipeg’s first drive of the Banjo Bowl, but he stayed in the game and proceeded to throw five interceptions. He also took a monster sack from Riders safety Craig Butler that was featured on Sports Illustrated’s website on Wednesday as its “sports video of the day.”

Despite the physical pounding he took, Pierce didn’t blame it for his lousy outing.

“I’m not going to put my performance on anything but just bad decisions on my part,” said Pierce, whose quarterback efficiency rating has fallen below what former Argos QB Cleo Lemon had in Toronto. “There’s no excuses for that.”

Head coach Paul LaPolice said Pierce gives the Bombers the best chance to win, so if he’s healthy he will be on the Molson Stadium field.

“If he can play his game, then you allow him to play,” LaPolice said. “Part of that is being able to scramble … and be able to throw the football fine.”


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