Injury stops Reynolds

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

Minutes after piecing together one of the finest first-half rushing performances in Stampeders history last night, Joffrey Reynolds was carted off to the Foothills Hospital with a knee injury.

With him went Calgary's offence and any chance of winning the game. After winning three games in three weeks with three different quarterbacks, the numbers finally caught up to the Stamps in a 32-11 loss to the Montreal Alouettes.

Forced to use a third-string quarterback, a second-string running back and a first-year kick returner, the Stamps went a full three quarters without scoring or mustering any semblance of offence.

Danny Wimprine's first and likely only start of the year was so abysmal he was yanked in the final six minutes in favour of Josh Harris, who has only been in Canada two weeks.

The final numbers saw Wimprine go 7 of 20 for 92 yards, three interceptions and a touchdown toss. But just like the previous week when Reynolds saved Wimprine's extremely average relief work with a 185-yard rushing effort, the Stamps were able to hold tight with the elusive back in the game. When he left, the game was over.

With apologies to a Stamps defence that held tighter than Keith Tkachuk's belt as long as it could, the most inspiring performance of the second half came from a cheerleader who took a knee-buckling hit from Eric Lapointe and bounced back up. The crowd went wild.

Still, it paled in comparison to the way Reynolds shook off would-be Alouettes tacklers as he rambled in a fashion that would have had him threatening the club's single-game rushing record of 238 yards.

In a stat that spoke as much about Reynolds' night as it did about Calgary's defensive brilliance, the running back had 10 rushes for 133 yards at the half, which put him just three yards short of the passing yardage gained by Montreal. It was the 15th-best rushing game in Stamps lore and he did it in just 25 minutes of play. Conversely, Wimprine had completed just four of 11 passes while handing Montreal 10 points off turnovers.

Still, Reynolds ensured the Stamps were only down 18-8 in the locker-room. It is there he stayed before team officials insisted he have an MRI on his left knee that preliminarily found a sprain that will keep him out up to four weeks. Should it be any longer, the Stamps' chances of making any sort of post-season splash will disappear.

Taking endless heat off Calgary's stable of quarterbacks, he has quietly pieced together the first 1,000-yard rushing season since Kelvin Anderson was cut, sitting second in the league with 1,123 yards.

With four games left, he has already established the 13th best season in Stamps lore, needing to average 65 yards over the last four games to finish in a tie with Anderson's best season-mark at 1,383 yards, good for fifth all-time. He has done it with runs like the 46-yarder that set up Nik Lewis' first-quarter touchdown. He later scampered 24 more yards on a foray that ended with him coming up lame.

Said Jamie Crysdale: "There's definitely a sigh and you say, 'what else is going to happen. It's frustrating because you feel like you're making strides and then he's out. Teams are afraid of him because d-linemen wrap him up and he still gets away."

Even though the Stamps should have Henry Burris back when the team returns from a bye, the entire season may have gotten away from the Stamps if Reynolds is out for long.

He's that important.


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