OL January sidelined
THE Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive line -- already a major question mark with the off-season departures of veteran guard Brendon LaBatte and centre Obby Khan -- was down to just one veteran on Monday due to injuries to starting tackles Glenn January and Andre Douglas.
January -- who head coach Paul LaPolice described as having a pulled muscle in his lower leg -- joined Douglas -- who appeared to hurt his hip during practice last week -- on the sidelines on Monday as backups Paul Swiston and Jordan Taormina got a lot of the first-team reps.
Douglas sat out practice all weekend but January's move to the sidelines was new on Monday. "We'll hold him out a few days," LaPolice said. "He pulled a muscle and I want to be cautious. We'll just give him a couple days and evaluate how he is."
LaPolice said neither January nor Douglas would have been making the trip to Montreal this week for the pre-season game on Thursday in any event.
With the two starting tackles watching, right guard Steve Morley was the only offensive lineman on the first team on Monday with any significant game experience.
The Bombers' loss, however, was to the gain of someone like Swiston, a non-import who's getting all kinds of experience against the first-team defence right now after spending last year on the practice roster.
"It's great to get things on tape that I can look at and just to get more reps," said Swiston, a 6-9, 342-pound monster of a man who the Bombers drafted 24th overall in 2011.
LaPolice was asked after practice how concerned he is about the injuries. "Not overly concerned. There's a lot of training camp still left before the first game. We'll just get them healthy," he said.
But while LaPolice was talking a brave game, the Bombers are clearly concerned about the state of their offensive line. On Sunday, they brought in free-agent guard Adam Rogers, who was working in the oilpatch in northern Alberta when the Bombers talked him out of retirement.
And sources also said the Bombers made inquiries with Toronto last week about acquiring offensive lineman Chris Patrick.
FIELD NOTES -- The Bombers will be going with backups Alex Brink, Joey Elliott and Justin Goltz as their quarterbacks in Montreal. Starter Buck Pierce, who's had a sparkling camp, will get the rest, as expected.
Bowman still out
Head coach Paul LaPolice said Monday that starting linebacker Marcellus Bowman, who has already missed about a week with what's described as a leg injury, will likely miss at least a week more. "I just told him to get your mental reps and when you're ready to go, you're ready to go," said LaPolice. "But unfortunately it might be a little bit of time."
Dustin Doe, who played in three games last season, is filling in for Bowman on the first team.
LaBatte carted off
Former Bombers offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte got carted off the practice field in Regina Monday morning. LaBatte, who the Riders lured away from Winnipeg in the off-season with a mega-contract, sustained what Riders head coach Corey Chamblin described as a "minor" injury to his Achilles tendon. Chamblin said the club was just being cautious.