The Toronto Argonauts might finally have a receiving reinforcement when they get to Calgary.
Slotback Andre Durie participated in full practice at the team’s Downsview training facility on Tuesday for the first time since breaking his clavicle in Week 2.
Durie looked to be running smoothly at full speed for most of the day.
“It felt good to get back out there with the guys and have a real practice with them,” Durie said.
But after just one practice, even if it felt good, the York University product wasn’t ready to pencil himself into the lineup for Saturday. He also wasn’t ready to give himself a fully clean bill of health.
“[Saturday’s still] the goal,” Durie said. “We’re still shooting towards that. The main thing is … to be 100 per cent healthy, and then we’ll go from there.”
Even having Durie at less than full health would be a shot in the arm for the Argonauts, coming off an anemic offensive performance at the Labour Day Classic in Hamilton.
Toronto is preparing to face a Stampeders team that is far and away the class of the CFL this year, having allowed just 168 points in 2014.
Argonauts have been playing without several of their top
“The main thing is…to be 100 percent healthy, and then we’ll go from there.”
receiving targets for most of this season, including Durie, star receiver Chad Owens, and wideout John Chiles. With three huge games against the superior Western Division on the horizon, starting with the Stampeders stingy defence, there’s no question Toronto wants its full arsenal back as soon as possible – starting with their versatile Canadian slotback.
“There’s definitely things that we can do with Andre that you really can’t do with other guys,” quarterback Ricky Ray said. “That’s just from his experience playing running back and his ability to run the football.
“So we’re going to be able to mix it up with him either in the backfield or out as a receiver.”
Scott Milanovich, the head coach, says the key is Durie’s versatility.
“What he can do as a running back, as a receiver, as a blocker, and [he’s] somebody that Ricky is very comfortable with. Hopefully he’ll be able to go [Saturday] and play like we saw in practice today.”
OWENS QUESTION: The news wasn’t all rosy in the injury wing of the Argonauts receiver corps on Tuesday. Wide receiver Chad Owens, still nursing a leg injury suffered on Aug. 23 in Edmonton, took part in some light drills on the side during practice.
Despite his progress, the all-star’s status for Saturday’s contest remains unclear.
“It looked like he was running pretty good on the side,” Milanovich said. “[But] he’s not as far along as Andre is at this point.
“He didn’t take many reps, or any reps really. He was just kind of working on the side with the trainers.”
Milanovich also gave an update on wide receiver John Chiles, who is still nursing a chronic hamstring injury. It doesn’t appear that the Dallas native, who has just five catches this season, will be returning any time soon.
“I wouldn’t expect him next week,” Milanovich said. “I would say in the next three weeks maybe he’ll start getting some running in.”
A NEW HOME: Tuesday was the second full practice for the Argos at their new practice facility in Downsview Park. The team had spent the first half of the season as nomads during practice time, shacking up in several locations including York University and the Rogers Centre.
While Downsview may not be the perfect facility, players and coaches are still happy to have something permanent to call their own.
“[Downsview] saves us 45 minutes to an hour every day in transition time,” Milanovich said. “I think our guys are enjoying it. It’s good for morale.”
“It’s nice just to be settled in to one spot and just focus on football,” Ray said.