Considering how beat up the Calgary Stampeders looked the last time they came off the field, they will consider themselves lucky at this point.
There were a few question marks around two of their key players, but the news wasn’t bad at all once they started preparations Tuesday for one of the toughest stretches of the season.
Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell may be going through some shoulder soreness, but he was able to do everything asked of him in Tuesday’s practice.
Mitchell was seen fighting off some shoulder pain during Friday’s win over the B.C. Lions, but with a couple of days off he came back ready to work.
He admitted the issue has lingered for a while, and there was a week of practice he skipped earlier this season, but he hasn’t missed any game action other than giving way during blowouts. Now it looks like he won’t be coming out of the lineup.
“He had a great day and made every throw,” head coach Dave Dickinson told the media after Tuesday’s session. “He has some soreness. I’m happy with what I saw.”
The news might not be as good with running back Jerome Messam, who left the win against the Lions with a knee issue.
While Mitchell should be a go, Messam is a question mark against the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday. If he can’t play, expect Terry Williams to get the call once again, while backup Roy Finch will continue his role as the return specialist.
Finch is too valuable on special teams to make into an every-down back at this point, but Williams has some skill and can be dangerous.
Messam is currently leading the league in rushing with a 64-yard edge over Winnipeg’s Andrew Harris. Although he went through some struggles early in the season, Messam has proven again to be a workhorse for the Stamps, and if he can’t play, it will be a missing piece for sure.
“I haven’t had to deal with it in a while so I’m not really sure,” Mitchell said about what the offence looks like without Messam.
Dickenson sounded positive about the chances of Messam playing, but with back-to-back outings against the West Division rival Edmonton Eskimos on the horizon, it might be best for him to get healthy for that series.
“We have different things we can do,” Dickenson said. “We still have Terry Williams who I like as a running back. We will see how it plays out. I sure hope Mess is ready to go. We have a plan in place. We have other guys here and ready to go.
“I call the plays to see what I think is working. The thing about Mess is he gets you those extra two or three yards.”
On the defensive side, the Stamps are getting healthier by the week and that’s a positive note.
There is a decent chance both safety Josh Bell and linebacker Deron Mayo return from their health issues. It would be Mayo’s season debut after knee surgery and the former defensive captain would obviously add a boost to the lineup.
Bell is a captain this season, and he would obviously provide a spark if he’s ready to go as well.
This comes a week after the likes of Junior Turner and Ja’Gared Davis both returned to help bolster a defensive line that was ragged early in the season. If Charleston Hughes’ issue he had in B.C. drags on, the Stamps do at least have more options to replace that loss.
The Stamps will want to be at their best during this run that could determine positioning in the West Division. They just may have done that.