Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Nicked Blue players good to go against Lions

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INJURED Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver Chris Matthews and cornerback Jovon Johnson -- who were hurt in practice on Tuesday when they got tangled up on a passing play -- should be back in the lineup Friday when the Bombers host the B.C. Lions at Canad Inns Stadium.

Matthews and Johnson both left practice early on Tuesday and did not participate again on Wednesday as the team went through its final full practice in preparation for the league-leading Lions.

But head coach Paul LaPolice didn't sound concerned when he was asked after practice Wednesday afternoon for an update on the "conditions" of the two players.

"Their conditions are they're fine young gentlemen," LaPolice joked. "They'll be fine tomorrow. They just got banged up yesterday. We held them out."

Johnson also downplayed the injuries. "We both jumped for the ball and came down (awkwardly). So we took the day off."

Matthews and Johnson are among the team's leaders on offence and defence respectively and Winnipeg will need all the support they can get when they take on the Lions, who have not surrendered a touchdown in their last three games and just 22 points combined.

"It's very remarkable," LaPolice said of the stingy Lions. "Their are some veteran quarterbacks in that crew that they faced... They've done a heck of a job."

The Lions held Darian Durant and the Saskatchewan Roughriders to just five points last week, Ricky Ray and the Toronto Argos to just nine points the game before that and the Calgary Stampeders and Kevin Glenn to just eight points to start the string.

"They're not afraid to come out of their coverages to make a big play -- and that's what veterans do," Elliott said Wednesday of the Lions, who lead the league in takeaways-giveaways at plus-eight. "So you have to worry about that from a quarterback standpoint. But at the same time, you just have to relax and go play and take your completions when you can."

Elliott said he's been given the green-light to improvise Friday night when the situation is right. "They trust in me to stay within myself and if I see something, to go with it."

THE FALCON AND THE BOMBER FAN: Photos have been circulating on Twitter of a falcon that swooped into Canad Inns Stadium last Thursday evening during the Bombers game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The falcon took in part of the game while sitting propped on a rail and photos show that at one point the bird even sat on a fan's hand.

TACKLE HUNGER: The Tackle Hunger national food drive hits Winnipeg Friday. Fans attending the game are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate to Winnipeg Harvest. Since 2003, fans have donated over 225,000 pounds of food to the drive, including 55,000 pounds last year alone.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 23, 2012 C4

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