The Calgary Stampeders could be without two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player Bo Levi Mitchell on Friday with the Montreal Alouettes visit McMahon Stadium.
“It’s definitely in doubt,” said head coach Dave Dickenson via videoconference. “We let multiple guys take reps today. I’m not putting him out there if he doesn’t feel good. I still think I want to have [Canadian quarterback Michael O’Connor] and Jake (Maier) doing everything they can to be ready to play — both of them — and I’ll make that decision as the week goes on. Certainly in doubt.”
Dickenson declined to give specific details regarding the injury, which he said Mitchell sustained in a Week 1 loss to the Toronto Argonauts.
“I don’t really like to talk on a lot of injuries, especially when it’s somebody else’s injury,” said the veteran head coach. “He wasn’t doing what he needed to do and he knows why and there’s a reason. When Bo’s ready to go, he’s our best option and we’ll play him.”
“[Mitchell] was able to play and practice, so it’s not like it’s something he hasn’t dealt with. We want to make sure he’s out there and feels like he can not be a sitting target. He still can function and do a great job, we just have to feel comfortable with that decision,” said Dickenson.
The 48-year-old declined to specify the length of Mitchell’s recovery, but hinted that we may find out when the team declares its roster for Week 3.
“I’m not really going to go into the medical advice on that. I’m hoping not and I’m really not getting told that. If it’s long-term, you’re going to see a six-game. If it’s week-by-week, game-to-game, then we’ll just play it out,” said Dickenson.
The six-game injured list is reserved for players who are expected to be out for longer periods of time. Player salaries do not count against the cap while they are on the six-game, which is an added incentive for teams acknowledge when players are expected to be out long-term.
Mitchell has performed poorly thus far in 2021, which is shocking given the level of dominance he’s enjoyed throughout his CFL career. He currently leads the league in interceptions with five and is averaging a career-worst 7.4 yards per pass attempt.
The Stampeders were forced to cancel their outdoor practice on Monday due to smoky air conditions. They held an indoor walkthrough, though the veteran bench boss acknowledged that the team would have been better served having a traditional practice heading into a game against a tough opponent.
“To be honest, the smoke hurt us,” said Dickenson. “We could really use the practice time. We need to be out there. Walkthroughs are walkthroughs, the guys are still mentally into it, but they’re just not what we need at this stage of year. We’ll take it as comes and try to be better as a team.
“At 0-2, we do feel the urgency but we just gotta look in the mirror and make sure we’re playing better this week. If we do that against a great team, we’ll see how it goes.”