If it wasn’t for the injury report, there might be no reporting on Calgary Stampeders training camp.
The first week of camp featured little in the way of transactions. There were the obvious and eventual releases, and no midnight taps on John Hufnagel’s door to announce a change of heart with respect to their lives as professional football players.
Most surprisingly, the always-fickle Calgary weather was only an issue once. Over the weekend, practice was cut short because of a torrential downpour.
The injury toll, however, is another matter.
From the minute they first stepped onto the field on day one, the team began fighting a bad string of injuries. Linebacker Jadon Wagner was the first to go down, suffering a torn patella tendon. He will likely be out for several months.
The Stamps were hoping he would be able to contribute on special teams as well. Now, the Alberta native’s debut will have to wait.
Defensive lineman Kevin Dixon also went down early in camp. He has a torn ACL that will sideline him for several weeks. Dixon was in the mix to become a full-time starter on the defensive line.
Then came another dose of bad news.
Australian punter Scott Crough missed practice on Friday morning with an unspecified back problem. By mid-afternoon, the diagnosis was in – a ruptured disc in his back.
His injury ended all competition for the punting job, as the team will likely not bring in a replacement punter.
As a result, the job belongs to third-year punter Rob Maver.
“I really feel awful for Scott. He’s a great guy, tons and tons of potentialm” noted Maver after Calgary’s intra-squad game.
”But at the same time, I was coming in here to keep kicking well, so I’ll keep kicking.”
The injuries continued to pour in over the weekend, as promising receiver Maurice Price was lost to an ankle injury. He will be on the sidelines from up to eight weeks. Price spent time on the team’s practice roster in 2009, and kept their eye on him during his two-year journey through various NFL camps.
While there was no guarantee Price had cemented a spot on the final roster, the team did intend on giving him a long look.
His absence opens the door for 28-year old Joe West.
West comes from an athletic family, featuring an uncle and a cousin that both played in the NBA. West, himself, was a high school All-American in basketball.
His pedigree aside, West is determined to earn himself a roster spot.
TC12: West Training Camps
“I’m trying to take advantage of every opportunity I get. I’ll take it one step at a time,” noted West.
The Stamps are also getting thin on the offensive line. Edwin Harrison, J’Micheal Deane, Tony Washington and Jon Gott have all been observing practice from the sidelines.
The Stampeders, of course, aren’t the only team battling injuries. It’s just that their camp has gone so smoothly, with so few hiccups that the injuries have become a big story.
All the healthy bodies will hit the field on Friday night in the pre-season opener when the Edmonton Eskimos roll into Calgary’s McMahon Stadium.