Bishop gives Bombers veteran insurance

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce confers with head coach Paul LaPolice during fourth...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce confers with head coach Paul LaPolice during fourth quarter action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Winnipeg Friday August 26, 2011. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:06 AM ET

WINNIPEG - It is Winnipeg’s latest chess move: use a Bishop to protect its king.

With that king, starting quarterback Buck Pierce, still battling bruised ribs, the Blue Bombers sent an SOS to well-travelled signal-caller Michael Bishop.

Bishop was due to arrive in town late Wednesday night. The Bombers are talking about signing him to the practice roster, but it seems the only reason to rush him to Winnipeg would be to dress him at least as a backup when Winnipeg plays host to the Montreal Alouettes in a key CFL encounter Friday.

The Bombers remain concerned about the injuries to Pierce and current backup Alex Brink (shoulder).

“So, we want to have somebody with veteran experience whom I worked with in 2006 in Toronto and 2008 in Saskatchewan,” Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice said Wednesday. “So, he knows our system and he’s very well liked in the locker-room by the guys.”

Bishop also played for Winnipeg in 2009.

That would suggest that Pierce would be given another week to rest those ribs, with Brink starting and Bishop as insurance Friday. But apparently, that move has yet to be made.

“We just have to make the best decision possible for the team and for Buck,” LaPolice said after Pierce took most of the first-team reps at practice. “He threw the ball like he always does, but it’s a different story when you get hit by a 300-pounder and get thrown to the ground.

“We wanted see how he’s throwing the ball, we wanted to see his soreness level … But there are more factors than just completing passes today.”

Even Pierce, who has made a career-best 12 straight starts, was hedging his own bets.

“I think I can be effective, but can I withstand another real good hit on those ribs?” he said. “Is that the best thing to do at this point in time? These are the things that we have to think about as an organization and myself as a player. A lot of things go into it. It’s not as easy as just wanting to play. I want to play. I wish it was that easy.

Pierce had no qualms about Bishop’s pending arrival, though.

“He’s proven himself and he’s been with this staff before, so he has a good idea of what we like to do offensively,” he said. “He’s a guy you can have around to call upon and it’s nice to have a guy who has some experience.”

Brink also welcomed Bishop to the fold.

“I think it’s a good move for us to get a veteran presence in here,” he said. “He’s been around the league, definitely. So, to have him here is going to help me and some of the other young players, and that insurance would be good.”

Should the Bombers decide to start Pierce, Brink would be OK with that.

“I’m preparing either way,” said Brink, who also took some first-team reps Wednesday.


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