Middle linebacker Avery Williams returns for Montreal Alouettes vs. B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: Gary Lavoie/Montreal Alouettes

The Montreal Alouettes will have a big part of their defence back on the field when they take on the B.C. Lions on Sunday.

Starting middle linebacker Avery Williams will return to the lineup in Vancouver, after missing last week’s loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with an arm injury. The 28-year-old has collected 13 defensive tackles and another on special teams since coming over from Ottawa in free agency, while adding one knockdown.

Also back in the lineup is defensive back Dionte Ruffin, who missed last week with an ankle injury. With starter Ciante Evans (leg) still on the shelf, the team’s opening day starting cornerback will slot in at halfback and bump Najee Murray back to his natural strong-side linebacker spot.

As a result, linebacker Bryce Notree — who made six tackles in his start last week — and defensive back Reggie Stubblefield have been returned to the practice roster.

The Alouettes will also receive a boost along the offensive line, where promising youngster Pier-Olivier Lestage returns at left guard after battling a back injury. His usual backup, veteran Philippe Gagnon, went down with an arm injury against Winnipeg and has been added to the six-game injured list.

Elsewhere, head coach Jason Maas has elected to shake up his receiving corps by demoting Cole Spieker to the practice roster after he’s caught just three passes for 41 yards this season. Rookie Americans Tyler Snead and Quartney Davis will both make their first career starts after impressive preseasons, while running back Walter Fletcher will be a healthy scratch to make room.

The Alouettes (2-1) will visit the Lions (3-1) on Sunday, July 9 at 7:00 p.m. EDT. They are currently point underdogs.

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes