Blue Bombers lose QB Buck Pierce for season finale

Buck Pierce has played his last game this season for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after he injured his shoulder in Saturday's rain-soaked loss at Hamilton.

Replacement starter for Alouettes matchup unknown as backup Joey Elliott nurses sore knee

Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce, seen here being tackled by Hamilton's Renauld Williams on Saturday, will miss the team's regular-season finale this weekend against Montreal. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Buck Pierce has played his last game this season for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

He injured his shoulder and heads a long list of players hurt in Saturday's rain-soaked 28-18 loss in Hamilton.

Bombers GM should learn fate this month

After another disappointing season, Blue Bomber general manager Joe Mack should know before the Grey Cup whether he still has a job in 2013, says team president Garth Buchko.

Speaking Monday at Investors Group Field, where he was showing off progress on the team's new home, he said he and the board are currently reviewing all aspects of the club's operations.

"The team's record overall is disappointing and it's not acceptable and we will review everything in the whole organization, including football operations," said Buchko.

There have been reports interim head coach Tim Burke is liked by Bomber brass and will be offered a permanent job. But Buchko said that isn't his issue.

"My job is to hire one person and that's the general manager in football operations," he said. "What happens with the coach after that is the general manager's job and so I need to make an assessment on Joe Mack, my board needs to make an assessment on Joe Mack."

He promised the answer before the Grey Cup. Last year under Mack, the Bombers finished first in the East and made it to the Grey Cup, where they lost to the B.C. Lions.

That highlight of Mack's tenure is bookended by a 4-14 season in 2010 and this season, with the Bombers in the CFL cellar at 5-12.

The team's performance has already cost head coach Paul LaPolice his job. Burke was defensive co-ordinator when he was drafted to take over mid-season.

— The Canadian Press

With the loss, Winnipeg has no chance to make the playoffs but will play one more game this weekend at home against Montreal.

Interim head coach Tim Burke says it's also uncertain whether No. 1 backup Joey Elliott can start since he banged up his knee Saturday.

It was certainly a disappointing season for Pierce, who started less than half the 16 games he managed in 2011 and finished less than half of those, as a foot injury then concussion kept him off the field.

This time it's his shoulder that will prevent him from playing Saturday.

As they begin practising Tuesday for that final game of 2012, Burke says the team knows there will be changes coming in 2013, one way or another.

"This is the last chance for us as a team to bring our camaraderie together and to play together as a team and do it for each other. That's going to be my message."

The Bombers will also be without their two best running backs -- Chad Simpson and Will Ford -- and receivers Terrence Edwards and Isaac Anderson.

At this point, they don't expect Johnny Sears to play either, which once again opens a hole at strong-side linebacker. Question marks hang over several other players.

Saturday's game means nothing on paper to either team.

While this also is the last CFL game at Winnipeg's Canad Inns Stadium, even that has no magic. The Bombers had a lot of last-game hoopla last season, when they thought they were going to play 2012 at their new home.

That didn't happen, leaving fans to grumble about the failure of Bomber brass to keep them fully informed about construction progress on Investors Group Field.

Team president Garth Buchko, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz were at the new $190-million stadium Monday to show off the installation of the artificial turf and goal posts.

But crews were still completing other work on the 33,500-seat shared facility, located on the southern edge of town at the University of Manitoba.