Bryan Burnham, known for durability in his eight seasons with the B.C. Lions, has been anything but in 2022.
The star B.C. Lions pass catcher, who missed just three games in the previous five seasons, is sidelined for the second time in 2022, this time with a wrist injury sustained late in Saturday’s 25-11 loss to the Calgary Stampeders at B.C. Place Stadium.
Leos co-general manager Neil McEvoy said Burnham had a doctor’s appointment slated for late Monday afternoon to further assess the wrist he hurt while making a fourth-quarter catch. Burnham did finish Saturday’s game.
The Lions put out on their social media channels on Sunday that Burnham had hurt the wrist and promised more details Monday. TSN’s Farhan Lalji reported on his social media Sunday that X-rays showed a fracture and that Burnham is “expected to miss some time, but undetermined how long.”
McEvoy declined comment Monday morning on the severity of the injury, saying instead that he was waiting for an update from a doctor later in the day.
B.C. (9-4) has already qualified for the playoffs, so making sure that Burnham is ready for the post-season will undoubtedly be important. The Lions have five regular season games remaining, starting with a visit to B.C Place this Friday from the Ottawa Redblacks (3-10). The Lions’ final regular season game is Oct. 28, when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (12-2) come to town.
“We aren’t going to put him in any jeopardy in regards to playing in the playoffs,” McEvoy said.
Ottawa Redblacks vs B.C. Lions
7:30 p.m., B.C. Place. TV: TSN. Radio: AM 730.
B.C. could still chase down Winnipeg for first place in the West, but they’re also trying to hold off Calgary (9-5 ) for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Burnham missed four games earlier this season after suffering cracked ribs and a collapsed lung from a hit by Toronto Argonauts defensive back Shaquille Richardson in a June 25 game.
The 32-year-old Burnham has 41 catches for 596 yards and four touchdowns this season. He had four catches for 58 yards last week.
McEvoy said that while Burnham is a “key” to the team’s success, club brass believe that the Lions have “arguably the best receiving corps in the CFL.”
B.C.’s Dominique Rhymes (66 caches, 1,062 yards) is second in the league in receiving yards, while Lucky Whitehead (70 catches, 879 yards) is seventh and Keon Hatcher (53 catches, 820 yards) is 10th.
The vast majority of those numbers did come with Nathan Rourke at quarterback. Rourke suffered what appears to be season-ending foot injury five games ago in a 28-10 road win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 19. Even with his missed time, Rourke remains third in the CFL in passing yards (3,281) and second in touchdown throws (25). Vernon Adams, Jr., who was acquired in a trade from the Montreal Alouettes, has taken over from Rourke as the starter.
Burnham, who’s originally from Moorestown, N.J., and played collegiately at Tulsa, has been with the Lions since 2014 and is a four-time CFL all-star and a five-time CFL West Division all-star.
He narrowly missed a fifth straight 1,000-yard receiving season last year for the Lions, going for a 965 yards on 67 catches in a campaign shortened to 14 games from the regular 18 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All told, Burnham has played 105 games with the Lions and has 476 catches for 7,212 yards and 42 touchdowns. He’s fourth all-time in receiving yardage for the franchise, having passed Mervyn Fernandez (6,690) earlier this year. Third spot belongs to Emmanuel Arceneaux (8,169).
Burnham and the Lions announced that he had signed a one-year contract extension in late January, just days ahead of entering free agency. That’s the second straight season he’s done that.
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