Bombers on the Brink in Calgary

Alex Brink is starting for the Bombers in Calgary on Saturday. (Jason Halstead/QMI Agency)

Alex Brink is starting for the Bombers in Calgary on Saturday. (Jason Halstead/QMI Agency)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:24 PM ET

WINNIPEG - They are on the brink of embarking on the playoffs, but the Blue Bombers don’t know who will try to lead them to the Promised Land after this weekend.

Alex Brink will replace the injured Buck Pierce at quarterback for Winnipeg when Bombers play their last CFL game of the regular season in Calgary this Saturday.

But whether Pierce will be able to return in time for the playoffs remains up in the air.

Pierce suffered a “sprained knee” during Winnipeg’s loss to the Toronto Argonauts on Friday and will not even dress this week.

“I don’t want to speculate on anything,” Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice said Tuesday. “We don’t know when he’ll be back. I didn’t think it’s a season-ending injury but you never (know) … We’ll evaluate him each week and see how quickly he can get back.”

Pierce said his current injury is not as bad as one he suffered last season.

“I had a slight MCL tear last year,” said Pierce, who was on the field but did not practise Tuesday. “This is not as bad as that, which held me out for three or four weeks. I’m not going to put a timeline on this one. It feels better than the one I had last year. But we still want to be cautious and make sure that I can move around.”

Pierce, however, was coy when asked about MRI results.

“We examined it and I trust our doctors to give me the right diagnosis on it,” he said.

The Bombers can clinch first place in the East with a win over the Stampeders and/or if the Montreal Alouettes lose to the Lions in B.C. The East Final would then be in Winnipeg on Nov. 20, giving Pierce more time to recover. If not, they would host the semifinal on Nov. 13.

“As of right now, they’ve got to get it to where I can start running around and start to move,” Pierce said. “In my mind, I’m thinking playoffs, whenever that is. If it’s a week later, great. If it’s next week, it’s next week. So, I’ll prepare myself to getting back as soon as possible.”

Brink, 26, will make just his third CFL start in what will be the most important game of his burgeoning career. He was booed off the field in his only start against the B.C. Lions last yea, but has played much better this season.

“It’s night and day mentally,” Brink said, comparing this year to last. “I experienced what a lot of young quarterbacks experienced up here. I had to go through a transition period learning the game, learning the nuances of it all. But, I feel like I have a good grasp of those.”

Brink has completed 67 of 107 passes (62.6%) for 821 yards and four touchdowns, with four interceptions this season. He now faces his toughest test to date.

“I’m very excited,” said the 6-foot-3, 216-pound Washington State product. “It’s an incredible opportunity. Unfortunately, it’s under unfortunate circumstances due to Buck’s injury, but I’m ready to go.”


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