December 6, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
WHATEVER your opinion, once the declaration was made Wednesday, the matter of Justin Goltz getting his first professional start at quarterback seemed pretty cut and dried.
That is, until injured starter Buck Pierce, after three days of not being available for conversation with reporters, piped up Thursday and said he's fine.
"I don't know," said Pierce, who was knocked out of last Friday's game vs. Toronto with an abdominal injury. "It's up to them. It's out of my control."
He was asked if he'd be able to play next week at B.C.
"For sure," Pierce said. "My sense is that I'd be physically able to play this week. It's out of my hands."
Pierce did acknowledge his injury.
"There was some concern with the hit and the affects that it took," he said. "I'm a teammate first. Am I happy about it? I'm not. But I want to make sure we go out there and we perform."
Bombers coach Tim Burke squashed Pierce's claim about readiness quite sharply.
"Like I said earlier in the week, Buck will tell you he's healthy," Burke said later. "The trainer says he not.
"And Buck would tell you as long as he's breathing that he's healthy. He's that kind of guy. He's tough. He wants to go out there and he wants to play. I mean, he'd play with a broken arm."
Burke was clear about who his starter is going to be.
"If he was healthy, he'd be starting," Burke said. "But he's not so he isn't."
STEADINESS at strong-side linebacker for the Bombers? About the same confidence level that rapid transit will appear near Investors Group Field in the near future... not so much.
Tonight, Demond Washington, who played the role for a couple of games in 2012, returns to the spot, over from halfback.
Previously this season, Desia Dunn and Johnny Sears Jr., both injured, have played this position.
"I'm the type of guy that I don't make complaints about nothin'," Washington said Thursday about the switch. "I believe in going in and getting the job done.
"You handle stuff as it comes, good, bad, indifferent. I'll handle it. I played it last year. I feel like I can go in, contribute and do what I have to do. In my case, I've played every position in the secondary now. I just go out there and I'm surrounded by a lot of guys that are very talented. We talk each other out. I'm comfortable with those guys."
THE Bombers confirmed with their roster Thursday that Bryant Turner will return to action at defensive tackle.
After recording three sacks that night, Turner left Game 2 of the season late, suffering from sprained chest ligaments.
This was a turnaround week for him, he said after Thursday's walk-through.
"It went pretty good," Turner said. "Day 1 (Monday), that was the first time I really opened up and did anything except the weight room. It was really sore. "So I sat out the rest of the practice, played it safe, and came back out the next day and it felt great. So I finished the day and everything was good from there.
"The trainer was saying that if I could get through this week and try to test drive it, we'll see how the game fits in there. Everything's turned out pretty good so now I'm going to play in the game."
In addition to Turner's return, slotbacks Terrence Edwards and Kito Poblah are green-lighted for tonight.
Receiver Chris Matthews is out tonight but coach Tim Burke sounds like he's hopeful Matthews may return next week.
-- Tim Campbell
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 26, 2013 C3