Stampeders to face Argos without running back Jon Cornish, receiver Nik Lewis
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014 09:00 pm
CALGARY - Already without the services of running back Jon Cornish, the Calgary Stampeders received more bad news just two days before Saturday's road game in Toronto against the Argonauts.
A day after leaving practice early, receiver Nik Lewis watched from the sidelines on Thursday.
"With Nik, unfortunately late in practice (Wednesday) he accidentally got hit in the head and is having some symptoms, so he's out of the game," said Calgary head coach John Hufnagel, who described Cornish's chances of playing this weekend as "slim and none."
Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said he's confident that the Stamps have enough depth on offence to make up for the loss of Cornish, Lewis and receiver Maurice Price, who suffered a broken hand during Calgary's 29-8 win at home over the Montreal Alouettes on June 28.
"We're going to have to rally around the guys that are playing," said Mitchell, who completed 16-of-25 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns against Montreal. "Obviously Nik's a great player and has been for a long time in this league. It's part of the business. This is pro football. Guys get injured, guys get hurt and nicked up for a week or two. We've got guys coming in and we're confident that they know what they're doing, so we'll ride with them."
Lewis played just seven games last season before suffering a broken ankle and torn ligaments during a 26-22 road loss to the B.C. Lions last Aug. 17. He returned to action for Calgary's home opener and had one catch for 16 yards against Montreal.
Now in his 11th season with the Stamps, Lewis said he was feeling great leading up to Saturday's game against the Argos.
"This has been probably my best week of practice," said Lewis, who went down to catch a pass late during Wednesday's session and took a knee to the side of his head. "It kind of made me woozy for a little bit. I got a little dizzy. I'm feeling better.
"It's one of those things, you have to take concussions very seriously. The doctors are well informed on what needs to happen and it takes a certain amount of days. If this would have happened two or three days ago then yeah, I feel like I'd be playing this weekend, but it happened yesterday, so it just takes time."
Lewis added that he's confident that he'll be back for Calgary's next home game on July 18 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
"I'm out for a week," he said. "I'm not out for the rest of the year. I know what that feels like."
Cornish, meanwhile, hasn't practised since being levelled with a high hit by Alouettes linebacker Kyries Hebert late in Calgary's win over Montreal.
The news isn't all bad for the Stamps as receiver Joe West is expected to return to the lineup after going down with a quad injury on the second day of training camp. Hufnagel also noted that rookie receiver Sederrik Cunningham will be activated off the practice roster.
"We're going in with the same basic game plan we try to take in each and every week," Hufnagel said. "Obviously the players are different, but as far as what we want to try to concentrate on and get a good mix as far as the pass and the run and the play action, hopefully we can achieve that."
As far as the running game goes, Hufnagel said that the load will be split between Matt Walter, Jock Sanders and Rob Cote.
"Matt will get the lion's share of it, but we always want to use Jock," Hufnagel said. "If Matt gets nicked then Jock's going to have to carry the rest of the load along with Rob Cote."
Walter found himself in a similar position last year when Cornish was out of the lineup during Calgary's 35-14 road win over the Argos on Aug. 23.
"I filled in, did what I could and we got the win," said Walters, who had 10 carries for 56 yards. "It ended up being a pretty successful outing. In terms of approaching this week, it's just another standard week of preparation. As a pro, you have to treat every week the same. I prepare to be a starter every week, knowing I'm not going to be a starter, but that's just the mindset you've got to have to make sure you're successful."
After helping the Saskatchewan Roughriders win the Grey Cup last season, Sanders signed with the Stamps in the off-season.
"A lot of guys in the locker-room are glad to have me," said Sanders, who rushed for a touchdown to help the Riders down the Ticats 45-23 in the 2013 CFL championship game. "I'm glad to be a part of this organization. Over here, it's already a championship attitude just like in Saskatchewan. We built a championship mindset. That was already done here. Last year, they went 14-4. I'm with a group of guys that know how to win. I'm with a group of guys that probably just need that extra little push at the end, that edge."