THE Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be without the services of defensive end Jason Vega when they take on the Calgary Stampeders at Canad Inns Stadium on Thursday.

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THE Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be without the services of defensive end Jason Vega when they take on the Calgary Stampeders at Canad Inns Stadium on Thursday.

Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice told reporters on Saturday that Vega sprained his knee during a 22-16 Bombers win over the Toronto Argonauts Friday night.

"He's going to be out a little while. I don't know anything definite. It's certainly going to be at least one week. He's got a knee sprain."

Fernand Kashama replaced Vega along the defensive line Friday night and registered three tackles for the Bombers. LaPolice also mentioned Kenny Mainor -- who is on the practice squad -- when asked who might fill in for Vega against Calgary.

LaPolice was also queried about the health of starting quarterback Buck Pierce, who was limping in the second half after a third-quarter sack.

"He's just really sore. I said, 'Are you OK?' and he said, 'Yeah, I'm just sore.' He got banged around. But he really managed himself well. He got down when he needed to.

"That was a hard battle last night. Both physical teams."

LaPolice said several Bombers players are sore and will likely get the day off on Sunday when the Bombers return to the practice field for what the coach said would be an abbreviated practice session.


Missed opportunities


LaPolice said he thought the Bombers offence missed some golden opportunities to score more than the one TD they mustered against Toronto.

The Bombers receivers got loose behind Toronto coverage several times during the game, but Pierce was unable to connect with them.

"We had five deep balls and we missed all five," said LaPolice. "If you hit two of those, they're probably touchdowns. There's the easy scores against a good defence. So that's disappointing.

"But then part of me thinks that's ridiculous for me to think we're going to complete something when some guys don't get a chance to practise."

Bombers slotback Terrence Edwards did not practise with the team last week as he recovered from sore ribs.

LaPolice was also asked about consecutive time-count violations the Bombers took midway through the first quarter. LaPolice said the offence simply moved too slow both times.

"To have them consecutive, I don't think I've ever seen that," the coach said. "We have to get them breaking out of the huddle sooner, because they had the play in plenty of time."


Laces were out

Bombers defensive back Jovon Johnson debuted Friday night as the new holder for placekicker Justin Palardy and blamed himself for a pair of Palardy misses in the first half, including a shanked 28-yarder on which Johnson said he failed to get the laces out.

Not so, said LaPolice.

"I love that he's blaming himself and helping his buddy," said LaPolice. "But that's not what I saw."

"The first one was a fine hold and a fine snap... It looked to be perfect."

Punter Mike Renaud used to hold for Palardy -- including in the season opener against Hamilton -- but LaPolice said the Bombers would prefer to have a holder with better tackling bona fides than their punter.

"You put yourself in a position where if you ever missed a long field goal, you have two kickers on the field. They're just not great tacklers."