As if the air around the Bombers office couldn’t get more tumultuous, injuries tore through the squad’s roster this week, leaving head coach Tim Burke staring at a roster decimated at almost every position.
To wit: quarterbacks Max Hall and Buck Pierce are out, Hall with a busted hand and Pierce with an injury Burke has been asked not to disclose. Hall might be back at practice this week, Pierce will almost certainly not. Receiver Rory Kohlert, who coaches said they liked in the last couple of weeks, may be out for awhile with a bad hamstring. Defensive back Jovon Johnson is banged up and listed as day-to-day, although he spent today’s practice running across the end zone with Demond Washington, who is also day-to-day with a bad hamstring.
Meanwhile, long snapper Ian Wild and tackle Glenn January were sick today, but should be back in action soon. Defensive lineman Zach Anderson has a bum knee, and coaches are waiting to see how that improves. Chris Matthews is out. Veteran offensive lineman Steve Morley is out for a least a month, and will have to get a scope to probe his knee.
On the plus side, Cory Watson looked good in practice, and will likely be ready to play against the Roughriders on Sunday.
At any rate: yikes. "It’s just part of the game, gotta roll with the punches," Burke said after practice today, one which saw Justin Goltz back running the offence after his demotion two games ago. Though he hasn’t officially been told he will start in Regina on Sunday, that is likely the case, Burke said, although it isn’t written in stone.
"Probably Justin will start," Burke added. "Nobody’s been promised anything. If Max comes back tomorrow and has a good day, that could change. If doctors reverse their decision on Buck, that could change, but I don’t think that will happen."
Meanwhile, incoming quarterback Jason Boltus – who played years under new Bombers offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille in Hamilton -- got his first look at the Bombers offence today. Right now, Burke said, they are looking at Boltus as a pivot to shore up a short-term problem, but that could change if he impresses in practice.
"I thought he had a strong arm, and he understood the plays," Burke said.
The Bombers also welcomed two new receivers today, in former NFLer Mike Sims-Walker and former Ticat Aaron Kelly. The latter slipped in more easily, Burke said, with his two years of CFL experience. But he saw right away the talent that put Sims-Walker in the big league, and hopes the receiver will be ready to make a big impact by next week.