WINNIPEG - Buck Pierce took a deep breath and let out a heavy sigh, which said about as much about his frustration as any words could.
Going through a second injury-plagued season in three years with the Blue Bombers is starting to wear on the 30-year-old quarterback.
"You love football and sometimes football doesn't love you back," Pierce said, publicly addressing his latest trip to sick bay for the first time, Tuesday. "That's the frustrating part about it. Every time I heal up from something I feel great, I feel like I'm ready to go and I'm out of the woods, and then something fluke like this happens.
"That's the hardest part. Mentally having to go through this kind of stuff, and having your teammates wonder if you're going to be ready or not. It's not the rehabbing. It's just mentally having to deal with it."
Pierce this time is dealing with torn ligaments and a torn muscle in his left foot, suffered during a first-quarter sack by Ted Laurent in Edmonton, Friday.
It's the second time in three starts this season he couldn't finish a game, but this one will keep him out about four weeks, he said.
"He hit me low, and my foot bent the wrong way," Pierce said. "I knew something was wrong. I didn't know it was as bad as this."
It's the second time in three seasons as a Bomber Pierce has suffered a significant injury. Knee problems and a dislocated elbow caused him to miss the majority of the 2010 campaign.
Pierce's backups, Alex Brink and Joey Elliott, have suffered their share of injuries, too, raising questions about Winnipeg's ability to protect its most valuable assets.
Pierce acknowledged that area needs to be addressed.
"Our guys are taking hits. Everybody in the league at the quarterback position, they get hit," he said. "But also we need to do some things to help protect our guys back there."
In 24 starts as a Bomber, Pierce has been sidelined nine times. This week will mark the 16th time he's been unable to start a game due to injury.