VANCOUVER — As the BC Lions continue their preparation for the Eastern Semi-Final, the team may be getting some reinforcements back on the defensive side of the ball.
Linebacker Solomon Elimimian – who has missed almost all of the 2018 season due to injury – may be ready to return in time for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Elimimian has been sidelined since Week 5 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after suffering a wrist injury.
“So far so good,” Elimimian said after practice on Wednesday when asked if he was going to be ready for Sunday. “Came out here the last couple days, ran around my teammates so I’m excited for the opportunity and I’m feeling better. Feeling better and, more importantly, I think as a defence we’re gelling. They’ve been doing some great things since I’ve been gone. Whatever it is that I’m going to add to it and I’m excited to be back.”
The 32-year-old would be a welcome addition to the Lions’ entire defence if he is in fact ready to return. The six-foot, 225-pounder has twice set the single-season tackles record, breaking his own record-breaking mark of 143 tackles with 144 tackles in 2017.
In four games in 2018, Elimimian collected 26 tackles before his injury that sat him on the sidelines for 14 weeks.
But it’s not just the statistics that makes the eight-year CFL veteran so integral to his team.
“Having Solly back brings a different mindset to our defence,” said offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye. “He’s a great football player. He’s been a great football player in this league for a long time. He brings that nastiness, that tenacity that the defence needs.”
Head coach Wally Buono wouldn’t confirm if Elimiman would suit up on the weekend after the linebacker participated in just his second practice of the week.
“Right now, we’re just practicing,” Buono said when asked if Elimiman would be ready to make his return. “The thing is, I think he looked even more comfortable today. We talk. The big thing for him is that he has to feel that he can do his job. If he can, he’s going to be a big lift because no only is Solomon a very good football player but he’s a general out there. He gets everybody organized. He makes all the calls. And those are the kinds of things you sometimes never appreciate until you don’t have it.”
The Lions visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday for the Eastern Semi-Final, kicking off at 1 p.m. ET at Tim Hortons Field.