You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has been around Argos camp for the first three days who hasn’t been impressed by Maurice Mann.
The veteran receiver who arrived in Double Blue late last season after an October trade from Hamilton to considerable expectations, really never got off the ground as an Argo in those final four games.
But through 2 1/2 days of training camp this season, Mann seemed to be making up for lost time.
He and one-time teammate Ricky Ray, together in Edmonton from 2007 through 2009, were clicking like they had never been apart.
That hit a major speed bump towards the tail end of the first of two practices yesterday at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Oakville.
Running a deep corner route and laying full out for a catch, Mann came down hard when he and a defender got tangled up at the very back of the turf-field end zone and slid on to the much harder (and slightly raised) running track which surrounds the field.
As the second practice ended, head coach Scott Milanovich revealed Mann had suffered a cut to his leg and was still being looked at by team doctors.
The team brought a van on to the track to transport the six-year CFL vet to team doctors. His condition will be updated at practise Wednesday.
While the Argos would only describe the injury as a “cut?, the way team personnel responded to the injury and the precautions they took getting him off the field, seemed to suggest a more severe injury.
“He has some sort of cut on his leg and we have to see where it goes,? Milanovich said leaving the door open. “What happened? It’s just unfortunate. We talk about trying to stay up, it being training camp, but guys are trying to compete and make plays and make the team. They (Mann and the defender) just got tangled at the end and he came down wrong on it. That’s all I could see from where I was.?
However much time this costs Mann, it’s too much given the Argos need to upgrade an unproductive receiving corps of a year ago and Mann is a key part of that.
The Argos did not have a dominant receiver in 2011 let alone a productive one. No player had more than the 722 yards receiver Chad Owens had while Brandon Rideau, who is no longer with the Argos, led the way with five touchdowns. There were flashes of brilliance from Owens and Andre Durie, but for the Argos to improve offensively and get their money’s worth out of Ricky Ray, someone is going to have to step up and become that go-to guy.
It may be Jason Barnes, who has the longest and most recent history with Ray in camp. But it could just as easily be a guy like Mann, who has his own history with Ray and was off to such a great start. In fact, it could be any one of the receivers in camp.
The point is, the Argos need as many options as possible and even a small setback, if that is what this turns out to be for Mann, it would make that more difficult.
Mann is actually the fourth receiver the Argos have had go down so far in camp. Laval product Julian Feoli-Gudino was the first when he went down in rookie camp with a hamstring pull. Damario Ballard and Roydell Williams are also listed as day to day with hamstring tweaks.
That quartet joins Sammy Tranks, who blew out his ACL late last season and is still recovering.
That’s five receivers on the limp. Fortunately another 12 remain healthy.
“This is just normal camp stuff when you have an aggressive, difficult camp and receivers are running as much as they are in this offence, they tend to get nicks and cuts,? Milanovich said. “We are going to be conservative with guys and if they are nicked up we’re going to get them out and let them get healthy.
“Other than Mo’s incident, nothing that has really happened isn’t normal. A tweaked hamstring here and there is going to happen in camp.?
Owens was one of the first Argos over to check on Mann and while he was obviously concerned for his teammate.
“He’s going to be back and we’re all praying for him,? Owens said. “You just hate to see any teammate go down, but Mo was having a great camp and he’s one of our leaders out here. Man, it’s tough. Someone is going to have to step up while he’s out, but he’ll be back.?