Through the first five weeks of the CFL season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' injury list seemed to be constantly expanding.
Monday brought some good news as offensive lineman Chris Greaves was back at his familiar spot at left guard after missing three weeks with a knee injury.
Greaves left Week 2's win over Ottawa. "Pretty good to go," Greaves said on the east practice field at the University of Manitoba on Monday.
Can he play this week?
"Absolutely," he said.
Head coach Mike O'Shea was also pretty positive about Greaves' participation Thursday in Hamilton.
"We'll look at the film today," O'Shea said. "He practised today and we'll go in right from here and watch it and see how he's moving around. I believe he'll be ready."
Greaves was wearing a pair of knee braces on Monday and will be in the future, he said.
"I'm new to these things but they're really not that bad at all -- I feel like Forrest Gump," he smiled. "Wearing them all from now on, for precautionary purposes."
The Toronto native said it was instructional to watch three games from the sidelines.
"Pretty tough," he said. "Then again, the boys are gritty and they fight hard. They won three of the four games I was gone for. Kudos to them, to Dan Knapp and Cordero Howard, they came in and played really well. We've got able bodies who can step in there."
"The thing you get to see is how much fight they have in them, if anything. There's no quitting. Versatility, more than anything. You've got one going from right tackle to left guard and another from left guard to right tackle, so you see the versatility and that there are guys who can plug in everywhere."
Vega, Kelly feeling better
THE news also seemed positive on defensive lineman Jason Vega, who missed last week's game, and receiver Aaron Kelly, who both practised on Monday.
"Once again, we'll ask them how they feel tomorrow morning," O'Shea said. "Sometimes with these things, you have to see how they fare through the evening. But yeah, they looked good up there."
But with the good came some bad.
Offensive lineman Dan Knapp was out Monday and may be questionable.
"We'll evaluate him tomorrow, make a decision on the roster then," the coach said, citing "various ailments."
It was the same with receiver Nick Moore, who was present but didn't participate on Monday. O'Shea called Moore's issues "various whatnots, small trinkets and things."
On Moore and others who are nicked up but playing, O'Shea said: "A short week, it's important that they get in the meeting room and understand the game plan and that they rest. Coming out here and putting a guy on the practice field who's a little banged up is better chance of you actually losing him for the week.
"This is how we'll handle things for the most part, trying to give the guys the rest time they need so they can perform on game day."
As for punter Mike Renaud and defensive backs Johnny Sears and Donovan Alexander, O'Shea said all are weeks away from returning.
Linebacker Rene Stephan needs at least another week and receiver Cory Watson is "definitely getting closer," O'Shea said, without indicating Watson could play this week.
Defensive lineman Kashawn Fraser was wearing protection on his hand Monday, causing O'Shea to give this update: "(He's) the type of guy who, if he had to gnaw it off out of a bear trap to play, he would probably do that to play. He has not gnawed it off. He still has all of his fingers."
Ticats still homeless
THE first meeting this season against Hamilton will take place in Ron Joyce Stadium on the campus of McMaster University.
The Tiger-Cats' new stadium, Tim Hortons Field, is not yet complete and behind schedule.
"It's unfortunate," O'Shea said. "Obviously everybody's going to make the best of it but it would have been nice for Hamilton to be in their stadium by now. I'm sure they're feeling the hit. I don't wish that upon them."
Zach won't be back... yet
HAMILTON, Ont. (CP) -- The Hamilton Tiger-Cats placed quarterback Zach Collaros on the six-game injured list Monday.
The CFL team confirmed the news on its official Twitter account.
Collaros has been out with head and back injuries after taking a hard hit from Edmonton Eskimos linebacker Odell Willis in a 28-24 loss on July 4. Collaros was flattened on the play after taking a helmet to the chin area.
The league fined Willis for the high hit.
Backups Jeremiah Masoli and Dan LeFevour have split time under centre for the 1-3 Tiger-Cats.
Collaros, a 25-year-old native of Steubenville, Ohio, was tabbed as the No. 1 quarterback after signing with Hamilton in the off-season. He has completed 23 of 41 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions through two games this season.
Collaros spent his first two CFL seasons with the Toronto Argonauts.
Also Monday, the Tiger-Cats added defensive back Harold Mutobola and defensive end Kiante Tripp to their practice roster.
Stamps add Charles
CALGARY (CP) -- The Calgary Stampeders signed running back Hugh Charles to their practice roster Monday.
Charles, in his seventh CFL season, was released by the Edmonton Eskimos at the end of training camp and played one game with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
In 55 career games with Saskatchewan and Edmonton, Charles has rushed 401 times for 2,170 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also has 82 career receptions for 995 yards and five touchdowns and has returned 78 kickoffs for 1,718 yards.
"Hugh is a CFL veteran who over the years has demonstrated great ability as a runner, a receiver out of the backfield and a kick returner," Stampeders head coach and GM John Hufnagel said in a release. "With our current injury situation, Hugh provides some very valuable depth for us at the running back and kick-returner positions."
Charles joined the league as a free agent with Saskatchewan in 2008. He played 21 games with the Roughriders before being traded to Edmonton in October 2011.