Injury histories coming back to haunt Bombers
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers DB Jeremy McGee and LB Rene Stephan wrap up Hamilton Tiger-Cats RB Chevon Walker during Canadian Football League exhibition action in Winnipeg last month. (JASON HALSTEAD/QMI Agency)
The Bombers drafted offensive lineman Tyson Pencer, linebacker Rene Stephan and running back Anthony Woodson despite their injury histories.
And even though all three rookie Canadians will miss the rest of the 2012 season with injuries, head coach Paul LaPolice says it's merely a coincidence.
"No, it's part of the game," LaPolice said. "You gotta see how they respond to all that. You take the guys you like and coach them up."
The problem is none of them will be coached up for the rest of the season. Pencer, whom the Bombers traded up to pick third overall in May, had season-ending shoulder surgery recently. It wasn't his first shoulder surgery, either.
"He had a lot of junk in his shoulder that needed to be repaired," LaPolice said. "He had a tear that had to be repaired. They went in and found some other stuff they wanted to clean up."
Stephan tore his ACL in his first pro game on June 29 and recently had surgery as well. He was out of football for two years because of knee problems.
Woodson got hurt against Montreal on July 6, and he will have shoulder surgery in the next couple of weeks. He missed all the 2009 CIS season due to shoulder and foot problems. The Bombers picked him in 2010 and waited two years for him to get healthy and to finish his degree. Now he's hurt again.
"We got him in the fourth round," LaPolice said. "That was a great pick for us. And when he showed up here at mini-camp, we said, yeah, we're excited to have him. And he's so intelligent. He's a good kid."
The kicker is Woodson, Pencer and Stephan all live together.
"So we gotta burn that house," LaPolice said.
BACK WITH A BANG
Jeremy McGee has been on a wild ride over the last month. The 24-year-old attended Bombers training camp, was cut, put on the practice roster, released from the practice roster, put back on the practice roster and on Thursday night it appears will start at cornerback in Winnipeg's home-opener.
McGee was only off the Winnipeg roster for about a week in early July. He went home to New Orleans for a funeral and was called back shortly thereafter.
"I'm extremely excited," McGee said. "I'm happy for the opportunity, for the coaches that believe in me and feel that I can get the job done. I have a lot of confidence in myself and have a lot of confidence in my teammates."
Defensive lineman J.T. Gilmore will make his Bomber debut on Thursday. He is expected to get both defensive and special teams reps "¶†Strong-side linebacker Jonathan Hefney left Tuesday's practice after taking a shot to his shin, but LaPolice said he'll play against the Eskimos "¶ Edmonton will be without former Bomber linebacker Clint Kent (knee) and defensive end Marcus Howard (hamstring). Receiver Greg Carr, another former Bomber, is questionable "¶†The Bombers have no interest in defensive tackle Aaron Hunt, whom the Montreal Alouettes released on Tuesday.