THE line of walking wounded limping through the door to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers infirmary just got longer.
Bomber head coach Tim Burke confirmed Monday afternoon that defensive end Alex Hall (knee) and receiver Cory Watson (leg) will both miss the rest of the season. As well, defensive tackle Bryant Turner and receiver Rory Kohlert are both out for this week's game in Toronto while receiver Kito Poblah is day-to-day.
"I think that's just about got it," said Burke after rattling off the hurts list. "Obviously, losing both Alex Hall and Bryant Turner is really tough on us defensively because they are our two best pass rushers.
"And losing Cory Watson is tough, too. He's probably our most physical receiver and our best blocking receiver so you lose that element of the game when you don't have him."
Hall leads the Bombers in sacks with nine -- second-best in the CFL to Keron Williams of B.C. -- while Watson, who was hurt in the Thanksgiving Day win over Montreal and has appeared in 10 games this year, is fifth on the team with 344 receiving yards.
The Bombers' nine-game injured list, those gone for the season, already includes eight players: RBs Chris Garrett and Anthony Woodson, S Brady Browne, LB Rene Stephan, OL Tyson Pencer, Andre Douglas and Jordan Taormina and DT Brandon Collier.
"Every team's going through injuries right now. We're never going to use that as an excuse," Burke said.
SILVER LINING: Here's Burke when asked what hope fans should cling to going forward:
"As you can see from the last few weeks, we have been very competitive in our games and have won some games. I think our offence is in a pretty good place right now as far as the scheme and I think Gary (Crowton, offensive co-ordinator) has really adapted to the CFL game. We've got guys wide open now, where before we didn't. Chad is running the ball really well and I think our offensive line has really gotten better throughout the year.
"Defensively, we're very inconsistent but for the most part in most games we're playing pretty well.
"I do think we have definitely improved as a team. We're much more mature, we're much closer as a team. There's a bright future ahead."
BLUE NOTES: Burke said Johnny Sears and Jovon Johnson would handle the punt-return chores this week... Jovon Johnson is expected to remain at outside linebacker, but the Bombers may consider testing out Demond Washington there or moving Brandon Stewart back to that position from corner... Burke revealed to TSN on Saturday that his mother is battling cancer. He added this on Monday as an update: "She's in a battle. She's taking chemotherapy and having doctor's appointments every other week. Right now she's fairly stable."
Ed.firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @WFPEdTait