Looking happy and healthy, Calgary Stampeders focus on Blue Bombers

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The Calgary Stampeders injury report tells the whole story, really.

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Of the five players who were on the ‘sick’ list earlier in the week, four were full participants in Thursday’s training.

Ka’Deem Carey and Jameer Thurman returned to the fold, while Derek Dennis and Tommy Stevens returned a day earlier. Only Charlie Moore remains absent – ​​Malik Henry was also back after missing a day with an illness unrelated to COVID.

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The infirmary is therefore largely empty.

With just two days until Saturday’s massive game against the undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-0), the Stamps looked happy and healthy heading into the game at McMahon Stadium (5 p.m., TSN/770 CHQR).

“It’s pretty hot in here – I’m hot right now, but I felt good,” Carey said, when asked how he was feeling. “I felt good racing with the team. It was day 1 for me, but day 4 for them, so I had fresh legs and brought energy.

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The Stampeders did not disclose this week which players had COVID or had other illnesses, although head coach Dave Dickenson acknowledged there had been positive COVID tests. Players have followed CFL protocols and are hopefully ready to play.

It’s hugely positive news for the Stamps as they look to reverse their 26-19 loss to the Bombers two weeks ago. Although the battered Bombers look likely to miss a few key pieces themselves, the Stamps wouldn’t have wanted to go into a game with the two-time defending Gray Cup champions without the guys they missed earlier in the week.

Thurman is their starting linebacker. Carey is their star running back. Dennis is their starting left tackle. And Stevens is their short-range quarterback in many situations.

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Luckily, with the exception of Stevens, they’re also the kind of players who’ve been around the Stamps for a while and know the system. Even with just one day of practice, one would expect Dickenson to feel completely comfortable putting them back in the lineup against the Bombers.

“Guys who are healthy enough to play and play the right roles are playing, and I think our team is coming together,” Dickenson said Thursday. “I picked up some of the guys today who missed all week. And me? I just want to see where their energy is and how they feel. If we want to beat these guys, it’s going to take a big 60 minute effort.

“I think there were guys who were tired, to be honest. I’m not going to play a guy just because he could play. I’m going to play a guy because he has energy. I can see it in their eyes, usually, whether they’re really healthy or not.

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Carey, at least, said he was ready to go. With his family in town sporting “Team Ka’Deem” t-shirts, Carey said he was looking forward to building on the 110-yard rushing performance he put up against the Bombers last game.

He certainly didn’t look like he was slowed down significantly throughout practice.

“I stayed in the gym,” Carey said. “A lot of StairMaster, a lot of racing in the hills, a lot of racing after my kids who came to town… They kept me straight. I’m ready – I’m getting ready. I had additional meetings with the coach over the phone calls.

“I really want it badly. We all know that when I take the family out, good things happen. I had to fly them immediately, and we’re about to take care of business. I’m delighted to play against this great team again – they’re a good team, but I feel like we’re going to come out on the best side this time.

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