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Bo Levi Mitchell practises, availability unclear for Thursday

Bo Levi Mitchell hopes he’s in the lineup for the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday.

He’s leaving that decision up to Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson and president/GM John Hufnagel, though.

The Stampeders quarterback practised with his teammates for the first time in six weeks on Tuesday morning, and when he spoke with the media afterwards, said he felt no pain from the pectoral muscle he tore in Week 3 of the season.

“Felt great, put the helmet on and really didn’t want to take it off (after) not being able to put it on for six weeks,” Mitchell said.

“Arm felt great. Being able to put it on and throw (with the skeleton team), throw a little bit of (first) team, as well. Feet felt a little bit off, which is natural, but overall felt really good.
“Just want to get right back out there and keep throwing. They’re kind of having to temper me down, make sure I don’t do (too much), but I’m ready to let it rip.”

Since Mitchell got injured, Dickenson has insisted that he’ll be re-inserted into the lineup as soon as he is ready.

The decision doesn’t seem quite as straightforward as that, though, and it remains very much unclear whether fans should expect to see Mitchell on the active roster for Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers when it’s released on Wednesday morning.

CFL rules dictate that if a player is placed on the six-game injured list and spends the entire six weeks on the sidelines, their team gets salary cap relief in the shape of the portion of their annual salary that they would have been paid during that period.

Mitchell has been out for five games.

Because he’s one of the highest paid players in the league, sitting Mitchell against the Bombers would give the Stampeders a salary cap break that could be used to bring in any number of impact players once NFL cuts are through.

It has to be tempting, but Dickenson has continued to insist that it won’t colour his decision over the next couple days.

Even Mitchell can see the logic in keeping him out of the lineup for another week, though.

“Oh, of course,” Mitchell said. “You’ve got guys who you hope make it down south and if they don’t, you want to be able to bring them back. I understand my salary carries big implications about the entire season, so getting six weeks back is pretty big for signing one of those guys.

“Being in the situation we’re in, I (can) assume what Dave will do. We can only see, Dave’s been saying this whole time that as soon as I’m healthy he wants to put me back in, but I’ll let Dave make that decision.”

It’s possible that this is all a bit of gamesmanship designed to force the Bombers to prepare for the possibility of playing against both Mitchell and Nick Arbuckle, who has filled-in as the Stamps’ starter for the past five weeks.

At the same time, you can see how there’s an argument for playing Mitchell.

The Stamps (5-2) and Bombers (5-2) are tied for first place in the CFL’s West Division right now and they may end up in a dogfight for playoff positioning right until the end of the regular season.

They also play three times this year, and if they happened to end the regular season tied, their head-to-head records could determine playoff seeding.

There are real reasons for the Stampeders to put their best foot forward on Thursday, and despite how well Arbuckle has played in his first real extended audition as a CFL starting quarterback, there’s no question the best version of the 2019 Stampeders has Mitchell behind centre.

Ultimately, we’ll find out what the Stampeders have planned on Wednesday morning. Dickenson wasn’t about to tip his hand any earlier than that.

“I’m going to have to go look at it and talk to Bo,” Dickenson said. “I think he made progress. It would be nice to have three guys available and we’ll see how it plays out. Obviously, Nick’s done well and I’m not saying we needed Bo, but we’re playing a great team and I want to see if he’s ready and if he is, I want to make him available.”


Don Jackson looked happy.

After five weeks on the sideline with a concussion, Jackson re-joined his Calgary Stampeders teammates on the practice field on Tuesday morning.

Jackson is always a big personality, and it was evident from the sidelines just how much the running back was enjoying running around and actually working again.

But don’t expect him in the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

It’s not happening.

“Don looks good,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson. “He says he feels like himself and I heard him talking a lot, so that’s a good sign. You know, right now at the running back position, no reason to (rush him back) because obviously we feel like we have enough guys to get it done.”


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