Blue Bomber Report Record: 5–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Buck's bell still ringing

But Blue QB not showing other concussion symptoms

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Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce's headache persisted on Sunday, but head coach Tim Burke said it was less severe than on Saturday night and Pierce is not demonstrating any other symptoms consistent with a concussion.

"He's being evaluated. At this point, they can't determine if he did or not (sustain a concussion). Again, it might just be the blow to the chin that's causing his headaches," Burke told reporters at Canad Inns Stadium Sunday afternoon.

"So they're cautiously optimistic and he's going to continue to be evaluated for the next couple days and we'll know something probably Wednesday or Thursday. There's going to be a neurologist involved, as well as our team doctors and Alain (Couture), our trainer."

Pierce took a helmet to the chin from Argos linebacker Brandon Isaac in the first quarter of Winnipeg's 29-10 loss to the Argos at Canad Inns Stadium Saturday night. Pierce suffered a cut to the chin and briefly went to the Bombers locker-room for treatment, but he returned in the second quarter and led his team on a touchdown drive.

But Pierce complained of headaches late in the second quarter and Burke said the decision was made at that time to remove him from the game for good. Backup Joey Elliott mopped up.

Burke said Pierce had his chin stitched while he was in the locker-room immediately following the hit and he was also examined by team doctors at that time for concussion symptoms.

"When he came out of the game, he was taken in and examined by the doctors. And he was laughing and joking, they gave him cognitive tests and he showed absolutely no signs of a concussion. He had no headache, nothing. He just had a big cut on his chin."

Burke was asked if Isaac -- who was penalized on the hit -- should be fined or suspended by the league. "It was a vicious hit. And I know (Bombers DB) Johnny Sears got suspended last year for a somewhat similar hit."

Sears was suspended for one game last season for a helmet-to-helmet hit on QB Steven Jyles, who was then with the Argos.

Burke said the Bombers will be discussing the Isaac hit with the league.

Pierce has a long history of head injuries and there were calls on Saturday night from the TSN football panel for Pierce to retire.

Burke called that an over-reaction. "Everybody's a doctor... A lot of people are saying he should retire. And then you hear all these things -- 'Oh, he's had seven concussions' -- which is absolutely not true. He's never had that many concussions. I don't know how many he's had but I know it's not even close to that...

"People have to have something to talk about that's controversial."

The Bombers don't play again until Thanksgiving Monday in Montreal. Burke said the team will hold a light practice on Wednesday, but won't hold a full practice again until Thursday, by which time they expect to know Pierce's status.

Burke said if Pierce cannot play in Montreal, backup Joey Elliott will get the nod as starter.

FIELDNOTES: Burke said LB Marcellus Bowman sustained an undisclosed injury during the Toronto game, but will be fine and will practice this week.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 1, 2012 C3

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