WINNIPEG - It looks like a couple of starting quarterbacks are out for the season in the CFL West but it really won't matter much to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as they look to climb out of last place in the division, coach Mike O'Shea said Tuesday.
Saskatchewan Roughriders' Darian Durant tore a tendon in his elbow in Sunday's win in Winnipeg and, in his first game back in 2014, B.C.'s Travis Lulay injured the same shoulder that had kept him from playing until now, as it healed from off-season surgery.
But that still doesn't mean the Bombers (6-5) will have an easier time of it, said O'Shea.
"There's no point in looking at it that way for us," said O'Shea. "Travis Lulay played one game, right, so Kevin Glenn's got them to where they are right now (6-4). In reality, Kevin Glenn's been the starter.
"And we don't play Saskatchewan again until the playoffs. So there's nothing we can really do about that."
Of course, Winnipeg has to make the playoffs, and with five of their seven remaining games against western teams, that isn't going to be easy.
They start with the B.C. Lions on Saturday. The Lions (6-4) are the only western team the Bombers have managed to beat this season, their first back in the West in about a decade.
As for Saskatchewan, they've taken the Bombers down three times in 2014, although Sunday's 30-24 win was just as painful for the winners as it was for the losers with Durant injured and expected to undergo surgery in the next few days.
"Realistically, his regular season is probably done,'' said Roughriders' general manager Brendan Taman. "Whether or not we can get him back for the playoffs, we'll see. It's not the greatest of outlooks.''
The outlook is just as grim for Lulay.
"Travis has suffered a shoulder dislocation very similar to the one he had last season," Dr. Bob McCormack said in a statement after Lulay was injured in Friday's 7-5 win over the Ottawa Redblacks.
"Due to the nature of the injury, the surgery which was performed on Travis' shoulder last winter has essentially been undone."
Despite O'Shea's comments, if Winnipeg quarterback Drew Willy can stay healthy the Bombers chances of making the playoffs would seem to have increased with both Lulay and Durant gone.
The Bombers do have their own injury issues, but none as critical.
One of the most troublesome right now may be the absence of long-snapper and linebacker Ian Wild. Bad snaps didn't help Sunday as the Bombers fell 30-24 to the Roughriders, after surrendering an early lead.
O'Shea said there is a chance Wild may be ready to return to meet B.C., but the Bombers don't want to risk his health by sending him in too soon.
They were missing receiver Nick Moore last Sunday with a sprained ankle but the Bombers are deep at receiver this season and have veteran Romby Bryant in reserve. He picked up 60 yards Sunday in a losing effort in which O'Shea noted the Bomber offence actually had a pretty good game.
Meanwhile, offensive linemen Pat Neufeld and Mathias Goossen are also injured and O'Shea said Neufeld is possibly out for another week still, although Goossen may be able to return to practice.
The Bombers will practise for the first time Wednesday since Sunday's loss. Penalties (13 of them) were also costly for the Bombers Sunday and O'Shea said he's discussed the issue with the team.
"What are we averaging, we're averaging nine a game, and we had 13, so there's four more. The unfortunate part is those four are probably URs (unnecessary roughness) which adds up to a lot of yards. We've just got to do a better job."
He said he is still seeking clarification about a couple of those 13 penalties because he's unclear on exactly what was called.