MONTREAL -- The Alouettes announced on Tuesday that running back Brandon Whitaker suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on Sunday, during the team's 28-17 win over the Roughriders. The 27-year old will require surgical repair and will miss the remainder of the 2012 season.
Victor Anderson is expected to be the starter Sunday when Montreal hosts the Toronto Argonauts in a crucial East Division showdown.
The five-foot-nine, 188-pound Anderson admits he has big shoes to fill.
"Brandon is the best running back in the league in my opinion," Anderson told reporters. "You have to stay on your best game in practice because he's always going hard so that continues to push all the younger backs. We just have to continue to push and play strong for Brandon ... we've got to do this for him."
Whitaker spent his first two CFL seasons backing up veteran Avon Cobourne before becoming Montreal's starter after Cobourne left to sign as a free agent with Hamilton in 2011.
"It's frustrating but it's football, it's one of those things that happens," Whitaker said. "God has a plan for all of us and I don't quite know what it is right now but it's his plan and I just have to follow it."
Whitaker has often credited Cobourne for helping mentor him when Whitaker was a rookie adjusting to a new game in a different country. While speaking of Cobourne, Whitaker has called him a "big brother."
This year, Whitaker assumed the role of mentor with Anderson and believes Montreal's high octane offence - spearheaded by CFL passing leader Anthony Calvillo - will be just fine with the rookie in the backfield.
"I'm always trying to help the next guy because I've been in that position before," Whitaker said. "Victor is a great running back and he's going to do very well.
Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said while it's not known just how long Whitaker will be out, he believes Whitaker's long-term prognosis looks good.
"With today's technology and the doctors, he'll have every bit of a chance to recover 100 per cent and be right back with us next year," Popp said. "I know he's disappointed but it's part of the game and we can't control it and just have to deal with it and move on.
"Victor is a solid, quality person let alone a great football player. He's able to do a lot of different things in our offence and help us in other areas like special teams. He'll be the guy now and we'll give him every opportunity along with anybody else we bring in."
As for receiver Brian Bratton, who hyperextended his right knee while leaping into the end zone, he is expected to miss several weeks.
The Alouettes will play their next game on Sunday, September 23 at 1:00 p.m., as the Toronto Argonauts visit Percival Molson Stadium in what's already being touted as a battle for top spot in the East Division standings.
- With files from MontrealAlouettes.com & The Canadian Press
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