Receiver Derel Walker ruled out for Elks’ home-opener, Caleb Holley draws start

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/BC Lions

The Edmonton Elks will be without the services of former all-star receiver Derel Walker for Saturday’s home-opener against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, replacing him with a player they originally cut on Tuesday.

Walker has been ruled out of the contest due to a finger injury suffered in practice this week. He was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, before sitting out on Thursday.

Veteran Caleb Holley, who was released by the team on Tuesday but brought back following Walker’s injury, is the listed starter at boundary wide receiver. Holley was on the team’s injured list for Week 1 but registered two catches for 66 yards and one touchdown in two preseason games.

The five-year veteran has made 157 career receptions for 1,963 yards and seven touchdowns as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Ottawa Redblacks.

He’ll have big shoes to fill in taking over for Walker, who was targeted a team-high nine times in the Elks’ blowout loss to the Lions last week and caught six passes for 64 yards.

Walker is coming off the least productive season of his career in 2021, during which he made 44 catches for 531 yards and zero touchdowns over 11 games. However, the four-time all-star posted a 1,000-yard season with the Toronto Argonauts in 2019 and previously had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in Edmonton (2015-16) before a stint in the NFL.

The Elks are currently eight-point underdogs at home to the Riders according to most Ontario sportsbooks.