LATEST UPDATE : Winnipeg Blue Bombers offence suffers another blow with loss of Brady Oliveira

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ offense will be missing two of its most potent weapons in Thursday’s Week 2 game against the Ottawa RedBlacks.

Receiver Kenny Lawler broke his arm in the season opener, while Brady Oliveira, last season’s CFL rushing champion, is currently sidelined with a knee ailment. Oliveira was placed on the injured list for one game, so Johnny Augustine will start at running back instead.

“It’s tough,” quarterback Zach Collaros said. “Obviously, both of those players are difficult to compete with in terms of production. As well as their leadership abilities.

“With Johnny, you have an experienced player who has been here for a long time and understands our offensive strategy. And he excels at every opportunity that comes his way.”

Kenny Lawler restructures contract with Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Oliveira did not miss a single game throughout the last two seasons.

“They are upper-echelon players who are difficult to replace,” head coach Mike O’Shea explained. “But Buck’s (Pierce) going to call his game, and we believe in the players who will be on the field. We feel they will make plays. Johnny has been really wonderful to us for a lot of years. So he’ll be taking on the entire load now, correct? It’s a great opportunity for him, right? He’s earned it, too.”

Augustine, who is in his sixth season with the Blue and Gold, has largely played as a backup. He scored their only touchdown in the season-opening loss and plays the same way every game, whether he starts or not. “Just always staying ready, being ready for my teammates, my coaches,” Augustine stated. “Even last week, even though I didn’t start, it was like, made the same notes, did the same things at practice, so obviously just going to go out there and do my thing, whatever is required.”

Winnipeg Blue Bombers offence suffers another blow with loss of Brady Oliveira - Winnipeg |

It is not all doom and gloom for the Bombers. Linebacker Adam Bighill will return to the lineup for his season debut after hurting his calf during training camp. He says he feels fantastic now after being forced to witness the loss to the Montreal Alouettes from the sidelines, and he believes the defense was not far off as they prepare to play former Bombers quarterback Dru Brown with the RedBlacks.

“Football is a very unique game in a sense that you need everybody to be perfect,” Bighill stated. “I mean, 11 out of 12 isn’t good enough because explosives (plays) may still occur and impact the game.

“We made just enough blunders that the game was out of reach for us. And we know who wins and who loses, and it serves as a reminder that you must handle the minutiae in order to win football games.”

The Bombers will make three changes to their 45-man roster in total. In addition to Bighill, Keric Wheatfall joins the squad to start as wide receiver for Lawler. Bailey Feltmate is also on the active roster, making his Bombers debut following three seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Oliveira, Lawler, and defensive tackle Jamal Woods will all make appearances.

Kickoff on Thursday is at 6:30 p.m. Manitoba time.

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