INJURIES are forcing two defensive changes for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for Friday's CFL home game against the Montreal Alouettes.
Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea confirmed after Wednesday's practice at Investors Group Field that defensive end Jason Vega and linebacker Ejiro Kuale are both out this week.
"Yes, Kuale, much to his dismay, is not going this week," O'Shea said. "So Abe Kromah will step in and give us everything he's got."
Kromah was acquired earlier this season in a deal with Hamilton. He has played one game since breaking his leg while playing with Saskatchewan during the 2012 campaign.
Kuale's out with back issues.
Vega will be absent because of a foot problem, likely bringing Kashawn Fraser from the injured list into his spot.
"He's coming along. I believe he could go but I'm going to hold him out for a week," O'Shea said of Vega. "I would like him to be 100 per cent, whatever that is in Week 9 or 10."
KROMAH'S insertion has been an exercise in cramming this week. The New York-born linebacker, 25, has been involved in intense disussions at practice to try to fit in with the defence.
The fact he has played so little in the last two years doesn't seem to be worrying O'Shea.
"The actual idea of getting on the roster and stepping on the field, we've got a lot of players this year that haven't stepped on the field yet they've played a number of seasons and when called upon, they'll step on the field and won't miss a beat because they've been practising every single day and they're extremely good football players," the coach said.
"I think if he was out two years and sitting on a couch with a broken leg, he'd never be back playing football again."
Top receivers ready
WITH slotback Nick Moore's return after missing three weeks, the Bombers will have their A-list receivers on the field at the same time for the first time since Week 1 of 2014.
Cory Watson and Aaron Kelly have also missed time due to injury.
O'Shea said he's noticed things are different this week.
"I think they look good," the coach said. "I watched practice film and I saw one of the fastest reps we've had. It was noticeable how well they were all moving and I think part of it is due to the rest. So that's all good."
Moore, who has 22 catches for 320 yards this season, is eager for Friday to get here.
"It's our first week with the starting receivers but even when it wasn't the starting receivers, we really didn't skip a beat," he said. "That being said, we really expect to go out there to make plays for him (QB Drew Willy) and for this team.
"The chemistry's still there. We've been working hard all week. We're ready to get back on the winning side."
-- Tim Campbell