Garrett out for season 0
Blue Bombers running back Chris Garrett is out for the season due to a torn Achilles tendon. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI Agency file photo)
Professional sports can look a little ruthless sometimes.
When a player gets hurt in practice, the coaches simply move the line of scrimmage up five yards while the trainer attends to the fallen.
The Bombers, figuratively speaking, have to do that now after losing starting running back Chris Garrett for the entire 2012 season. On Tuesday Garrett was simply taking part in just another Bomber practice. Then, after catching a pass and planting his foot late in the two-hour workout, his football career was flashing before his eyes after tearing his left Achilles tendon.
GM Joe Mack helped carry Garrett to the cart that whisked him off to the locker-room. The trainers knew right away what the diagnosis would be. The practice finished up with Bloi-Dei Dorzon as the No. 1 tailback.
"Just put the next guy in," is what head coach Paul LaPolice said he was thinking. "I feel bad for Chris, because he's a good guy, a good kid and everything. Then you just start thinking through your mind how to set the next lineup."
Dorzon could very well get the start on Friday night when the Bombers kick off the season in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions. Or it could be former NFLer Chad Simpson, who has missed the last two days of practice with a leg injury.
"If I'm needed to step up there, I'm ready," Dorzon said before knowing how seriously Garrett was injured. "I've been preparing just like if I was going to Week 1 to play. So I'm ready."
The Bombers have been in this situation before, and it hasn't hurt them. They lost Fred Reid and Carl Volny to torn ACLs in the same game last September. So the third-stringer took over and performed even better than Reid. His name? Chris Garrett, who had 576 yards in six starts over the remainder of the 2011 campaign.
Three days after Reid and Volny went down, the Bombers signed a new running back to the practice roster. His name? Bloi-Dei Dorzon, who had an excellent training camp this year. He rushed eight times for 76 yards and a touchdown, but he was buried on the depth chart behind Garrett and Simpson. He got cut last week, but he decided to remain on Winnipeg's practice roster despite the paltry salary it provides.
"Everything happens for a reason," Dorzon said. "I stuck around. I'm here. I like the organization. I like Winnipeg. I like how the coaches treat me. So I stayed."
Simpson, who appeared in 28 games for the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins, is the likely starting tailback once he's healthy, but it's not known if he will still get a chance to be the team's kick returner.
Volny still hasn't healed from his torn ACL, so if Dorzon starts on Friday and Simpson isn't in the lineup it would mean Canadian rookie Anthony Woodson would be the backup. You can bet the Bombers are already beating the bushes for another tailback.
"We had three talented backs here (in training camp), and it's a good thing we did," LaPolice said. "Out of the backs we had (Dorzon) performed just as well as everybody else, if not better than all the guys in pre-season. If that's any indication, I think he's ready to step in."
In the blink of an eye, a new Bomber era at running back begins.