GIVEN a chance for hindsight, Mike O'Shea realizes now he probably should have gasped in horror when Drew Willy went down late in practice Thursday clutching his throwing hand.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers starting QB -- and the critical piece in the club's 6-3 record -- had his right paw glance off a charging Don Unamba near the end of practice. Willy immediately dropped to the turf and could be seen clutching his hand in pain. He was looked at by head athletic therapist Al Couture, but did not leave the field and huddled with his teammates at the end of practice.
Asked if witnessing his starting QB go down led to an 'Oh crap' moment, O'Shea said:
"I wish I was that polite. It's practice. Things happen in practice. I'm glad he's feeling better or will be fine. But yeah, there's a moment there where you assess the situation and I'm trying to run through my head what we would normally do because I don't normally differentiate between quarterbacks and anybody else... but I realize now I probably have to.
"There was a part of me that said, 'Move the drill (keep going from a different spot away from the injured player) because that's what you do as a defensive guy. I've heard that so many times. And then you realize, 'Hey, that's your starting quarterback.'
"I wandered over. I took a look. The finger was still attached, so..."
O'Shea spoke to Willy after practice and got confirmation the club's No. 1 gun will be good to go for Sunday's annual Labour Day Classic in Regina against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
"I just talked to him, he said he's good."
Receiver Nick Moore also left practice Thursday with an apparent leg injury and his status will likely be updated after practice today.
QB WATCH FROM THE OTHER SIDE: While Willy did not speak to the media on Thursday, his counterpart in Regina, Darian Durant, was providing an update of sorts on his own injury.
Durant injured his throwing hand in last week's win over B.C. and was asked what one thing might keep him from playing Sunday.
"A cast," Durant told the Regina Leader-Post. "As long as I don't have a cast on my hand, I should be good to go."
Thursday's Rider practice was closed to the media and afterward head coach Corey Chamblin said Durant had "a limited number of reps."
"He isn't 100 (per cent)," Chamblin said. "But he's getting close to where I feel comfortable that he can actually run a huddle and run a game."
MOVIE OF THE WEEK?: The Bombers will travel by bus to Regina for the annual classic and, if tradition holds, one of the movies being played will be the same as in years past: Slapshot.
Asked if he had a say in what movies were shown, O'Shea said: "I don't. I'm sure I'm at the mercy of whoever is doing that.
"It's usually Slapshot for me, but I don't get to pick."
Told the hockey classic starring Paul Newman was regularly featured during the playing days of current Bomber president Wade Miller, O'Shea grinned and added: "I guess we'll gave to get his copy, then."
-- Ed Tait