TORONTO - The Edmonton Eskimos' playoff hopes received a blow before kickoff Sunday with the news that star linebacker J.C. Sherritt would not play.
Prior to the CFL East semifinal against the Toronto Argonauts, the talk had been optimistic that Sherritt would be able to perform despite a nagging ankle injury.
But when the Esks warmed up Sunday at Rogers Centre, Sherritt was in street clothes in the end zone wearing a walking boot.
Sherritt, the West's nominee for most outstanding defensive player, had a CFL-record 130 tackles this season.
"I feel good," Sherritt said after practice Saturday. "I'm sure everyone who's playing on this field (Sunday) has a little ding here or there but it's playoff football so by this point it doesn't matter."
While the five-foot-nine 218-pounder said he felt great, he essentially watched practice this week.
"It's not something you wanted to get used to but these last eight weeks I've been used to it," he said. "It's just knowing your body."
Eskimos coach Kavis Reed said Saturday that talks were ongoing with the medical staff about Sherritt.
Simoni Lawrence was expected to start for Edmonton in place of Sherritt.