What's buzzing:

55 Yard Line

Can the Riders survive without Kory Sheets?

Andrew Bucholtz
55 Yard Line

View photo

.

Kory Sheets will be difficult for the Riders to replace following his knee injury.

There are plenty of questions in Riderland following Saskatchewan's 31-29 home loss to Toronto Saturday, but the most crucial one may be how they plan to replace star running back Kory Sheets. Sheets, who leads the league with 1,222 rushing yards (second-place Jon Cornish is 210 back), left in the first quarter of Saturday's game with a knee injury, and the Roughriders confirmed Tuesday that he'll miss at least this Sunday's clash against the B.C. Lions. From CJME's Green Zone Football:

Sheets, the league's leading rusher, left Saturday night's loss to the Toronto Argonauts with a knee injury. After the game head coach Corey Chamblin said that he didn't think the injury was too serious, and on Tuesday he confirmed that news in a scrum with reporters.

"Guess we'll classify it as a sprained knee, or something like that," said Chamblin. "He should miss this week, but I can't tell you after that how long it should be."

After this week Chamblin believes Sheets will be day-to-day as Chamblin wouldn't say what grade of a sprain it is.

"A couple of guys had it, it's been eight days, 10 days, some have been more, depends on where it is," said Chamblin.


Rider fans should be happy that this could only knock Sheets out for a week, as this team's very dependent on his play. His dominant rushing performances have been crucial to Saskatchewan's success thus far. Heading into this past week's games, the Riders led the league with 152.4 rushing yards per game. Saturday's loss saw them collect just 27 rushing yards (Sheets had eight on four carries before he got hurt: position-shifted fullback Neal Hughes collected just 14 on six carries in relief, while quarterbacks Darian Durant and Drew Willy added five on three carries) and dropped their average to 141.0 rushing yards per game, but that's still the CFL's best total. It's tough for the Riders to win without a big game from Sheets, and that was shown the past two weeks. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers held him to 65 yards on 14 carries in their Banjo Bowl victory last week, where they won decisively despite their own anemic offence, and Saskatchewan never got their rushing offence going against Toronto, causing Darian Durant to force some throws and finish with three interceptions. This team has been using a throwback offence this year, relying on rushing much more than your typical CFL team, and it's generally worked very well. Will they be able to do that without Sheets, though?

There are a couple of options waiting in the wings, of course. It sounds like the debate as to who to start against B.C. is going to come down to former Winnipeg running back Chris Garrett, who's been with the team for a few weeks since being released by the Bombers, or longer-time Rider Jock Sanders, who has more typically been employed in a hybrid rushing/receiving role. Although both players have plenty of talent, neither is Sheets, though. We'll see if the Riders elect to revise their offence to a more traditional run/pass mix this week or if they elect to keep the same plan and see if either Garrett or Sanders can carry the load on the ground. Either way will be difficult, though. This team's been trending down over the last few weeks even with Sheets playing, and that doesn't seem likely to magically turn around in the absence of their star tailback.

View Comments (4)
  • All Blacks retain Savea, Retallick through 2019 World Cup

    All Blacks retain Savea, Retallick through 2019 World Cup

    Reigning World Rugby Player of the Year Brodie Retallick and free-scoring winger Julian Savea have committed to playing in New Zealand until after the 2019 World Cup, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) announced on Wednesday. NZR chief Steve Tew described the … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 43 seconds ago
  • Cassels, Lindberg goals lift unbeaten Oshawa Generals 2-1 over Rockets

    The Oshawa Generals have earned a spot in the Mastercard Memorial Cup final, but there was a hairy moment before it became official. Leading by one goal with 4:24 left to play, one of their top penalty-killing defenceman, Dakota Mermis, was sent … More »

    The Canadian Press - 5 minutes ago
  • NBA play-offs semifinal result

    May 27 (Infostrada Sports) - Result from the NBA Play-offs Semifinal match between Cleveland and Atlanta on Tuesday (home team in CAPS) 1 2 3 4 T CLEVELAND 32 27 26 33 118 Atlanta 20 22 18 28 88 (Cleveland win the best-of-seven series by 4-0) … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Australia's Ashes task harder after Bayliss appointment

    Australia's Ashes task harder after Bayliss appointment

    By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY (Reuters) - There was general consensus in Australia on Wednesday that retaining the Ashes this year got a little bit harder after the appointment of wily compatriot Trevor Bayliss as England's new head coach. While former … More »

    Reuters - 7 minutes ago
  • Russell double gives Cubs 3-2 win over Nationals

    Russell double gives Cubs 3-2 win over Nationals

    The moment Kris Bryant made contact, just about everyone in the Cubs' dugout rose to take a look. The winning swing went to Addison Russell. The rookie infielder hit a game-ending RBI double in the ninth inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago