Winnipeg Blue Bombers place Kenny Lawler on 6-game injured list

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Kenny Lawler (89) and Geoff Gray (68) celebrate a touchdown against the Edmonton Elks during first half CFL preseason action in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday May 27, 2023. Kenny Lawler is planning to make up for six weeks of lost time. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

They’ve only played one regular season game, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had to place another player on the six-game injured list on Monday.

While it appears linebacker Adam Bighill will make his season debut this week after hurting his calf in training camp, the Bombers will be without star receiver Kenny Lawler long term.

Lawler was placed on the six-game injured list after suffering a broken arm on a harmless-looking play in the second quarter of their season-opening loss to the Montreal Alouettes.

Lawler was wearing a cast on his right arm at Monday’s practice and he’s their seventh player to go on the six-gamer already.

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“Those are always tough ones,” Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea told reporters on Monday. “Because he’s got a number of weeks where he won’t be able to do what he loves to do, right? He’s got to find a different role for himself and we got to help him do that and keep him involved, right, which is pretty important.

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“His teammates will look after him. He’ll be engaged but isn’t easy being injured, that’s for sure.”

Rookie receiver Keric Wheatfall has practiced in Lawler’s spot with the first string offence in the first two days of the practice week. He was targeted twice, but didn’t have a single catch in the pre-season and spent the first week of the regular season on the practice squad.

“He’s had a great camp,” said offensive coordinator Buck Pierce. “It’s always a big jump, you know, coming up to the CFL for the first time and learning the nuances of the game. But his physical tools — he’s extremely gifted and you can see the confidence building with him.”

The status of running back Brady Oliveira is also still up in the air after he missed a second straight day of practice with a knee injury. But defensive back Redha Kramdi returned to practice after missing Sunday’s session with a hip problem.

The Bombers will try again for their first win on Thursday when they travel to the nation’s capital to meet the Ottawa RedBlacks, who had a bye the first week of the season.

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