The list of Winnipeg Blue Bombers walking wounded is growing by the day.
Head coach Mike O’Shea said after practice Monday the club will likely be without veteran defensive end Jason Vega for this Friday’s game in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions because of "various ailments." As well, safety/linebacker/defensive back Johnny Sears, Jr. has a hamstring issue, and when asked if he would be available this week, O’Shea said: "not by the looks of it."
"We’ll take it day-by-day with Johnny and see how he’s feeling."
Those two would join slotback Cory Watson, offensive lineman Chris Greaves, punter Mike Renaud, as well as long-term injured players Ryan Lucas, Graig Newman and Gord Hinse, on the hurts list.
Meanwhile, receiver Aaron Kelly was back at practice after missing last week’s loss to Edmonton with a knee issue and Julian Feoli-Gudino, who did not workout, expects to be back at work on Tuesday. Moe Leggett was playing safety Monday in Sears’ spot.
"Of course, continuity is key," said O’Shea when asked about the potential changes on defence. "But we’ve also got guys who have been practising very, very hard behind them, and as you know, with Etch’s (defensive co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry) system, these guys all through training camp have taken reps. Kashwn Fraser stepped in when Zach (Anderson) was down and did very well. We’re set up nicely depth wise on defence, that’s for sure."
The Bombers did add two more to their practice roster on Monday, bringing aboard import running back Sam McGuffie and Canadian linebacker Kyle Jones.
McGuffie (5-10, 200, Rice) has spent time on practice rosters with New England, Oakland and Arizona in the NFL. He began his college career at Michigan before transferring to Rice. After two seasons at Rice, he switched from running back to receiver as a senior in 2012 and finished with 54 receptions for 603 yards and five touchdowns.
Jones (6-2, 210, Bishop’s) is in his sixth season in the CFL, playing with Hamilton, BC, and Toronto, where his skill set drew the appreciation of O’Shea, the former Argos special teams co-ordinator.
"Kyle Jones is that utility player," said O’Shea. "He’s a linebacker, special-teams guy that just happens to punt, kick, kickoff, snap and hold. He reminds me a lot of a good buddy of mine in Chris Hardy, who happened to be a University of Manitoba Bison quarterback and then a free safety in the CFL. I think he was the last pick overall in the draft and he played 10 years because he was a terrific athlete that can do so many things.
"Kyle Jones is that guy. Not only can he play special teams and do that well for you, he can get into the game in a lot of different spots. The one thing he can’t do is snap to himself, hold it and kick his own field goal… but I haven’t asked him to do that, so maybe he can."